Arkansas has relatively strict laws regarding drug use. Depending on the drug, the amount someone has and the previous criminal record of the individual, someone accused of possession could face as long as 40 years in prison. Additionally, they will likely face many thousands of dollars in fines, as well as the lifelong struggle of dealing with a criminal record.
While there is no question that drug abuse is a serious issue and a violation of both state and federal law, it often stems from addiction or other mental health issues. Individuals may turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate for depression, and people going through a rough time may turn to alcohol and wind up committing crimes as a result.
Although Arkansas does have strict criminal laws in place, they also have some more compassionate programs, including drug courts. These drug courts can help those struggling with addiction connect with the treatment they need. They can also save taxpayers a lot of money, as drug court treatment costs a tenth of what incarceration costs per person per day.
Drug courts offer an alternative for those dealing with addiction
Addiction has a way of taking over people’s lives. Addicts may not be able to make the best decisions, leading to crimes they would not have committed while sober. They can also experience social and financial issues as well as health issues because of their dependence on substances.
Everyone benefits when those struggling with addiction get the treatment they need to move on. Society benefits, as does the individual and their family members. Recognizing that not everyone who is an addict is truly a criminal, Arkansas put drug courts in place. Those facing charges and those already convicted can request diversion from the criminal courts to the drug courts.
The drug court typically will order addiction treatment services, which could include inpatient therapies for as long as 18 months. However, placement at a rehabilitation facility is significantly different than living as an inmate in prison. Additionally, undergoing and completing treatment successfully could improve your chances at a better future.
Do you know if you potentially qualify for drug court instead of criminal court?
Criminal law is confusing for most people. You may not really understand fully the charges brought against you or the potential consequences. Talking about your case with an Arkansas criminal defense attorney can help you make better decisions.
A defense lawyer can let you know if your situation will likely qualify for drug court. If so, they can help you initiate the process. If not, your attorney may be able to strategize for a defense that can help you avoid jail or a criminal record.