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Why do people ask for hearings in drug court, not criminal court?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Criminal Law

Not all criminal charges result in the exact same court proceedings. Some people plead guilty right away, so they only have to enter a plea and then wait for their sentence, while others undergo a full trial because they want to defend themselves against the charges.

Still others can occasionally ask for their case to go through the drug courts rather than the traditional criminal court. The drug courts involve close judicial supervision of those facing charges related to a verifiable substance abuse issue.

Why do some people accused of nonviolent offenses have to go through the drug courts rather than the traditional criminal courts?

Drug court helps people address their addictions

The goal of drug courts is to help rehabilitate those who have engaged in criminal activity because of a chemical dependency issue. Someone who meets certain criteria for addiction or substance abuse can potentially avoid a traditional trial while also connecting with rehabilitation support. Requesting pretrial diversion through the drug courts can help someone address their substance abuse.

Between random drug screenings, frequent meetings with court professionals and mandatory counseling, potentially including inpatient therapy, those going through the drug courts can closely examine and work on their substance abuse issues. Rather than going to prison and dealing with even more trauma and social isolation, defendants in the drug courts can fight the very issue that led to their crime.

Drug court can help you keep your record clean

Someone going through drug courts will need to cooperate with the professionals overseeing their case. They will need to complete treatments and have regular drug screenings without failing any tests. While they may spend months working through the program, the benefits are significant.

Someone who successfully fulfills all of the obligations set by the drug courts won’t be subject to the traditional criminal penalties for the offense that they initially faced. In fact, they won’t have a conviction on their criminal record at all. Successful pretrial diversion through the drug courts can help someone put both an addiction and a criminal mistake behind them.

Understanding how the drug courts operate in Hawaii can help you make better decisions about your pending criminal charges.