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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Drug courts offer better alternatives to those accused of crimes

You didn't think that trying drugs once would get you into trouble, but it just so happened that today wasn't your lucky day. You were caught in possession of drugs and now face charges as a result.

If you're convicted of drug charges, you could face a number of penalties ranging in severity from small fines to time in prison. Much of your case depends on the charges you face, the amount of drugs you had in your possession and how you acted upon arrest.

It's normal for individuals to enter plea deals with the prosecution or to work toward reduced penalties. Many states now have specialized drug courts, which help individuals get addiction treatment in lieu of time in prison. Despite this, there are federal mandatory minimums for drug crimes, and if your charge falls into the wrong category, you could end up facing a minimum term in prison.

Felony drug defendants may benefit from drug courts and their specialized programs. Oftentimes, these are repeat offenders, but as a first-time offender, you can benefit, too. Judges have a great amount of freedom in how they penalize those using drugs in these courts. They may allow treatment in lieu of a prison term so long as the individual submits to drug tests and comes to court regularly. Failing to do so could result in a jail sentence.

Often, it's true that those who possess and use drugs don't need to go to prison. What they need is help to get off drugs and back into a positive place in their lives. These courts work with individuals in that position to help them become better versions of themselves.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Penalties and Sentencing," accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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