A conviction for drug charges might result in jail time and fines. It can affect someone’s career and professional licensing in certain cases. A drug-related criminal conviction will also lead to a criminal record that will turn up every time someone applies for a new job. Drug charges also tend to damage someone’s reputation. Even a teenager or a college student who is convicted of a drug offense can expect substantial limitations on their future opportunities because of their criminal record.
Especially when someone who has been accused of drug-related wrongdoing is a young adult, family members may be very concerned about the consequences that will be associated with a potential conviction. As a result, speaking with a legal professional about pursuing drug court proceedings could be a viable solution for the protection of someone’s reputation if they are newly facing drug-related criminal charges.
How the Florida drug courts work
The drug courts are a form of pre-trial diversion available to certain criminal defendants. Those accused of a drug offense or other non-violent felonies may qualify to have their case go through the Florida drug courts. A substance abuse issue is also a prerequisite for drug court, although the offense does not necessarily need to involve controlled substances.
Unlike criminal court proceedings, where someone pleads guilty or innocent, drug court proceedings have a focus on substance abuse recovery. The defendant acknowledges the charges against them and then asserts that the issue relates to a substance abuse disorder. They can then potentially go through treatment overseen by the drug courts instead of facing criminal prosecution.
There are drug tests, frequent court hearings and mandatory substance abuse treatment involved in drug court proceedings. If someone successfully completes the drug court process, they can avoid all criminal penalties, including a conviction on their record. Even if there will be a record of someone’s arrest, they won’t have a drug crime showing up every time they apply for a job or a new apartment.
Additionally, anyone struggling with substance abuse might benefit from the structure imposed by the drug court while they attempt to achieve sobriety. Frequent drug testing and mandatory counseling can help people determine the underlying cause of their substance abuse and acquire the tools necessary to maintain sobriety.
Learning more about the various ways to handle drug charges in Florida can benefit those who are hoping to preserve their reputations or support a struggling loved one.