Fighting Addiction

Fighting addiction can be tougher than fighting one’s criminal charges. Addiction is a nasty beast that can torment a person for their entire life and wreck havoc causing irreparable destruction.

The Utah legislature has recognized this problem, and has set up a system to assist those who are addicted to drugs. This system is called Drug Court. Utah Drug Courts are authorized under Utah Code § 78A-5-201. The statute says:

(1) There may be created a drug court program in any judicial district that demonstrates:

(a) the need for a drug court program; and

(b) the existence of a collaborative strategy between the court, prosecutors, defense counsel, corrections, and substance abuse treatment services to reduce substance abuse by offenders.

The purpose of the Drugs Courts is to address the root cause of the criminal activity, the addiction, and to best ensure that the individual has a chance to move forward with his life without being harnessed by his addiction. If an individual is sentenced to prison or jail because of drug offenses, there is about a 60% chance that he will re-offend, compared to a 4% chance if he successfully completes Drug Court.

Another really neat thing about the Utah Drug Court program is the chance to get the charges eventually dismissed. The Utah Courts website says the following:

“Qualified participants enter a guilty plea for their charges. This plea, called a “plea in abeyance”, is put on hold while the offender is enrolled in drug court. Upon completion of the program, the guilty plea is withdrawn and the charges are dismissed. If however, the offender does not complete his/her treatment, they will face sentencing and imprisonment.”

So, if a person successfully completes the program, not only do they have a 70% chance of not re-offending, the charges that they were facing could be completely dismissed.

Drug Court requires a lot of work and dedication, but it is a great route to take because it truly looks at the big picture. The program seeks to truly rehabilitate an individual, and not just punish someone for their mistakes.

The qualify for Drug Court the following conditions must be generally be met:

Certain non-violent offenders charged with a felony drug crime. These crimes include forged prescriptions, possession with intent, and felony possession of a controlled substance.

Offenders with at least one previous drug conviction for which a sentence was given.

Offenders must be in the country legally.

If you are struggling with Drug Addiction, and your addiction has caused legal problems, you should consult with a competent attorney, so it can be determined if Drug Court is an option.

Greg Smith and Kyler Ovard

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