Contrary to what many people believe, not everyone who commits a criminal offense is a criminal. Some are average people who had a momentary lapse in judgment, some are people who suffer from mental illness, and still others are struggling with addiction. If you are facing criminal charges that stem from an underlying drug addiction, you may be wondering if completing a rehabilitation program will help your case. A Nebraska drug defense lawyer discusses the impact rehab may have on your case, and your life.
Drug Addiction and Crime
No one involved in the criminal justice system, nor in the treatment of substance abuse, makes the assertion that drug abuse or addiction is an excuse for criminal behavior. By the same taken, however, it is virtually impossible to deny the correlation between the two. Consider the following statistics from the National Institutes of Health:
- Approximately two-thirds of clients in long-term residential drug abuse treatment, one-half of clients in outpatient drug abuse treatment, and one-quarter of clients in methadone maintenance treatment are currently awaiting a criminal trial or sentencing, have been sentenced to community supervision on probation, or were conditionally released from prison on parole.
- Conversely, 60 to 80 percent of prison and jail inmates, parolees, probationers, and arrestees were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the commission of their offense, committed the offense to support a drug addiction, were charged with a drug- or alcohol-related crime, or are regular substance users.
- More than 50 percent of violent crimes, including domestic violence, 60 to 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases, 50 to 70 percent of theft and property crimes, and 75 percent of drug dealing or manufacturing offenses involve drug use on the part of the perpetrator—and sometimes the victim as well.
- Sustained abstinence from narcotics is associated with a 40- to 75-percent reduction in crime.
Rehabilitation versus Punishment
In the United States, the stated goal of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation. In practical terms, what that means is that when there appears to be a reasonable likelihood that a defendant can be rehabilitated and safely released back into society, that is the route a judge is supposed to take. For defendants with a drug addiction, that often means a chance to both avoid a lengthy prison sentence and get help with that addiction. It is imperative, however, that you be ready and willing to accept the help offered to you because at some point the court will make a determination that rehabilitation is no longer a viable option if you fail to succeed in one program after another.
Drug Courts and Diversion Programs
Drug addiction and crime are so closely — and so obviously, — linked that courts all over the country now offer drug diversion programs and/or have designated entire courts as “drug courts.” As of the end of 2014, there were 3,057 drug courts in the United States, representing a 24 percent increase over the previous five years. In Nebraska, you will find that Douglas County has an Adult Drug Court that allows a defendant to complete a 12-18 month long program of rehabilitation. Upon successful completion of the program, the original charges against the defendant are dismissed by the State.
If you live in a smaller community without an official drug court, you may still be able to benefit from completing a rehabilitation program. Most prosecutors and judges are equally open to a defendant completing an inpatient rehabilitation program and/or a privately run outpatient program if the court has access to the defendant’s progress reports and medical records. Your defense lawyer will need to negotiate the terms of the agreement with the prosecuting attorney. The earlier in the process that you open a dialogue about completing rehab the better your odds are of reaching an agreement that will allow you to do so in lieu of spending more time in jail.
Contact a Drug Defense Lawyers at Petersen Law Office
If you have been arrested for a drug-related criminal offense in Nebraska, consult with an experienced drug defense attorney as soon as possible. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.