If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense in Orange County, California there is a chance that you will face a lengthy jail or prison sentence. With the right legal guidance, however, you may be able to resolve your case outside the traditional criminal justice system. In Orange County, certain non-violent drug offenders can secure a place in California drug court, which focuses on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
The drug court system in California is an alternative to criminal prosecution. The goal of the drug courts in Orange County is to provide alcohol and drug rehabilitation to reduce the chances of repeat offenses. There are a few different drug court programs available for non-violent offenders including:
- Adult courts: These courts focus on adult offenders. They typically provide intensive drug treatments for at least one year.
- Dependency court: This court aims to help offenders who have families. Dependency court allows adults in treatment programs to care for their children thus reducing the number of children placed in foster care.
- Juvenile courts: Offenders under the age of 18 may be able to receive treatment over punishment. These courts also provide therapy to the families involved to encourage long-term sobriety.
Not all drug offenders in Orange County automatically qualify for drug diversion programs and drug court. In some cases, the alleged offender will have to enter a plea prior to participating in drug court. First-time offenders often are not required to enter a guilty plea. Individuals who enter a plea may face up to 36 months of probation during which time they will have to participate in a drug treatment program. If they complete the program successfully, the charges will be dismissed and the probation will be terminated.
There are also drug diversion programs that are different from drug court but also provide an opportunity to have the criminal charges dismissed. If you have been arrested, it is important that you discuss all of your rights and options with an Orange County drug crime defense attorney before making any decisions about your case.