Who qualifies for adjudication in Texas drug courts?
Texas is notorious for having a very strict approach to drug offenses. Even those accused of drug possession sometimes face felony charges and very harsh penalties. As a result, people tend to feel despair and anxiety after an arrest for an alleged drug offense in Texas. They worry that the penalties the courts will impose could drastically affect their life and that the criminal record they’ll have after a conviction will affect everything from their employment to their housing.
While it is true that Texas generally has a strict stance on drug offenses, not everyone accused of a drug-related crime ends up saddled with a criminal conviction and facing life-altering consequences. Texas drug courts are a form of pretrial diversion available to those in certain situations. Those who are able to take advantage of this opportunity can avoid the burden of a criminal record once their case has been resolved.
The state has special rules for drug court eligibility
One of the most important considerations when looking at someone’s eligibility for the Texas drug courts is whether or not they have a substance abuse issue. Those with a prior diagnosis may have the easiest time asking for the support of the drug courts. However, people can also seek an evaluation after their arrest that affirms their claim that a substance use disorder directly contributed to their conduct.
Additionally, the rules for the Texas drug courts require that the person be a non-violent offender. Provided that someone meets both of those standards, diversion through the drug courts may be an option in their case.
What does the drug court process entail?
Going through drug court does not involve mounting a defense to criminal charges. Instead, the defendant asserts that their conduct relates to chemical dependence. They ask the courts to oversee treatment so that they can improve their circumstances.
The drug court process involves multiple months of mandatory meetings with court specialists and rehabilitation professionals. People typically also have to submit to randomized drug testing. If someone is able to complete the entire process, they can move on with their lives without a criminal conviction. The courts will not impose any formal criminal sentence. In other words, the defendant won’t spend time in jail. They will also avoid a criminal record that would turn up whenever they have to undergo a background check. Although it can be difficult to successfully navigate the Texas drug courts, doing so can significantly reduce the impact that drug charges have on someone’s life.
Learning about every option when facing criminal charges in Texas may benefit those who don’t want a single mistake to change the course of their lives. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.