Newark, NJ- There is consensus among Americans that the War on Drugs has been largely ineffectual at curtailing drug use or reducing drugs crimes. This consensus is culminating in drug law reforms across the country. New Jersey is among the states that have joined the drug law reform fray by expanding drug courts in specific counties, and requiring more people to participate in the program, which is seen as a more effective alternative to incarceration.
New Jersey’s drug courts serve as an alternative to a jail sentence for certain criminal offenders who have an addiction. Many offenders are better served by getting treatment for their addiction at a drug rehab los angeles center than spending time in jail. Appropriate candidates for the program is are determined by a combination of the drug court administrator, prosecutor, substance abuse evaluator and judge. The offender must be found to be drug dependent, but need not be willing to undergo in-patient or out-patient drug rehab.
It is a strict program that requires dedication and regular interaction with the court, prosecutors and substance abuse counselors. Every aspect of the participant’s life is monitored; from their job to their personal lives. This rigorous program requires weekly visits with a probation officer. Until recent changes in the statute, participation in drug courts was not mandatory; a person had to give their consent, before they were allowed into the program.
Last year, however the statute was changed, and participation in drug court became mandatory in some counties. An offender in these counties no longer has a choice; they must participate in drug court when ordered to do so. The new statute also expanded drug court to include offenders convicted of robbery and burglary if the crime was related to the offender’s addiction.
Pilot drug courts began in Hudson and Ocean Counties and the Somerset/Hunterdon/Warren vicinage. Pilot courts initiate the changes to the original statute, which were signed into law last year, and will expand to other counties each year. Drug courts in Passaic County will soon be expanded to include mandatory sentencing, and, eventually, all drug courts in the state will follow suit.
If you live in districts where drug courts are voluntary, and are unclear whether you should request to participate in the program, you can contact my Newark office. We can discuss program requirements or whether you would fare better defending yourself against the charges you are facing.
Drug Courts may be a good alternative for some individuals, but it is not for everyone. The program is suited for true addicts who need a program to help them conquer their addiction, and need the structure the program offers. Offenders typically spend three years in the program, but some can spend up to five years in the program.
But not all drug users are hardened addicts; many are casual or infrequent drug users who had the misfortune of getting into trouble. For these and other offenders, drug courts are not effective because the offenders aren’t ready for the program; they would rather serve whatever sentence they are given and move on with their lives.
Participation in drug court isn’t necessarily a way to avoid jail, either. If the offender violates the strict terms of the program by testing positive for drugs, failing to make mandatory court appearances or completing their addiction treatment, they can still be sent to jail. Of course, most authorities will require these people to take a drug test to make sure they have evidence that the individual does have illegal substances in their system. To test for these drugs, it might be worth getting hold of some test kits here to ensure authorities get accurate test results. From there, they should be able to determine the best option for that person. In-patient treatment space is limited so some individuals ordered to participate in drug court must spend time in jail while they wait for placement in an in-patient rehabilitation facility – click here.
When you have been charged with a drug crime or a crime motivated by substance abuse, you have important decisions to make. I can help you make an informed decision about your charges and what course of action you need to take. Your rights are important to me, and I will use my legal experience to assure your rights and choices are respected in court.