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When is drug court an option for Idaho defendants?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Getting arrested for a drug offense can be an embarrassing and stressful experience. People worry about the public spectacle of a trial and the penalties a judge might impose. A criminal charge can change someone’s life for the worse. It can also potentially be an opportunity to make some major changes that ultimately prove to be positive.

Many people plead guilty to drug charges after an arrest for possessing a controlled or banned drug. They then have to deal with the consequences of having a criminal record in addition to coping with the substance abuse issues that led to their arrest in the first place.

Criminal charges don’t resolve the underlying issues that drive drug use. The state of Idaho has taken steps to adjust its response to certain types of drug offenses. Some people may qualify for adjudication in treatment courts instead of the traditional criminal courts. The Idaho drug courts can be an option for certain defendants facing criminal charges.

What are the requirements for the Idaho drug courts?

Not every criminal defendant in Idaho is eligible for drug court proceedings. Typically, only those facing non-violent charges are eligible. Additionally, they need to plead guilty to an offense related to drug possession or a property crime related to drug use. There needs to be a connection between someone’s criminal charges and a substance abuse issue.

Defendants who meet the standards necessary for adjudication in the Idaho treatment courts could avoid some of the worst aspects of criminal prosecution. Instead of risking a traditional criminal sentence, they are subject to court oversight and obliged to complete court-ordered treatment. Regularly submitting to drug screening is also typically part of the process.

Those who qualify for drug court proceedings can also avoid the criminal record that could come from a conviction. They may have an easier time rebuilding their lives after their experience with the criminal courts. Those who plead guilty may have to explain their conviction to every prospective landlord and employer for the rest of their lives.

A drug offense doesn’t always have quite the impact that such charges once did, but it can still affect someone’s opportunities in life. Considering every option when facing Idaho drug charges can be beneficial for those who struggle with substance abuse issues. The drug courts can be a viable option for some defendants in Idaho.