Despite changing social attitudes about drug use, Indiana law is still quite strict. There are numerous substances that could lead to drug charges. Just the simple possession of prohibited drugs, like marijuana or methamphetamine, can easily lead to your arrest. So could the improper possession of a controlled substance, like narcotic painkillers or ADHD medication.
If police officers discover drugs in your possession, they will typically arrest you, document the circumstances and work with the prosecutor to charge you with a crime. Drug charges could lead to time in jail and fines, as well as employment and educational complications because of the criminal record that results.
The Indiana drug courts could be an option for some people facing charges.
How are the drug courts different?
When someone goes through a typical criminal trial, the prosecutor seeks to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated the law. If the prosecutor convinces a jury or the defendant pleads guilty, then the defendant will face criminal penalties.
When someone requests adjudication in the drug courts, the process is much different. Rather than proving your guilt and trying to punish you, the aim of drug court is to help rehabilitate someone with a substance abuse issue. You will typically need to connect the crime to an addiction and then agree to undergo treatment.
What happens in drug court?
The drug court process involves direct oversight by judges and other courts employees, as well as treatment, possibly including inpatient rehabilitation services and outpatient therapy. The defendant will usually need to submit to randomized drug testing and complete numerous other requirements established by the judge presiding over the case.
However, if someone is successful and fulfilling all of those obligations, the results will be that they avoid a criminal record and all of the standard criminal penalties associated with the original charges.
Do you qualify for drug court?
Not everyone accused of a drug offense will qualify for drug court proceedings. Your criminal record and the circumstances involved in the charges this time will both influence your eligibility for drug court.
Discussing this scenario that led to your drug charges with someone familiar with the Indiana criminal justice system could help you decide on the right response to those charges.