Drug offences in Canada have been increasing since 1993, with police-reported drug offences reaching 305 incidents per 100,000 people in 2007. If you are being charged with a drug offence and have an addiction problem, you could avoid custodial sentences by getting your case sent to the drug treatment courts. You will have to enter a guilty plea and enroll in a government-overseen program for the drug addiction. Speak with your drug offence lawyer to get a better idea of what to expect.
The Main Principle Underlying Drug Treatment Courts
If you have a history of drug abuse and addiction, your drug offence attorney may recommend submitting evidence of the drug addiction, submitting a guilty plea and negotiating a reasonable penalty with the drug treatment courts. The drug treatment courts in Canada are an alternative to the traditional criminal justice processing system. To get in, you will need an experienced drug offence lawyer to present your case and sway the judge.
Once your drug offense lawyer can prove your drug addiction and present a favourable case on your behalf, you are required to attend a government-operated substance abuse treatment program, and participate in community-based organizations. You will also receive extensive ongoing judicial contact with a designated supervisor, and will undergo intensive supervision and drug testing for all substances.
The government-operated programs prescribed by the drug treatment courts operate based on three underlying principles. The first belief is that substance abuse treatment is effective for deterring and preventing substance abuse related crimes. The second belief is that intensive and frequent judicial supervision is effective for enhancing compliance, but also for reducing the risk of recurring substance abuse. And lastly, the third belief is that the unification of treatments and the criminal courts as one is more effective than having to put convicted individuals through two separate systems.
Understanding the Operation of these Courts
Understandably, not having to face the penalties and fines associated with traditional criminal justice processing systems makes the drug treatment courts a lot more appealing. To get an audience with the drug treatment courts, your drug offense lawyer must submit a formal application. Your application will have priority if it comes with a referral – whether the referral process is formal or informal. The application contains information like:
- Whether you meet all of the eligibility requirements. In general, this means you will have to give a detailed history regarding your addiction.
- The charges you are facing. The type of charge and the severity of it may have an effect on whether you are admitted. Keep in mind that the drug treatment courts may take into account the amount of evidence the prosecution has. In fact, the evidence may be reviewed in detail.
- Your understanding of the rights and responsibilities associated with joining the programs. You might have to provide a statement regarding why you are interested.
Keep in mind that an application does not guarantee admission. If your application does get reviewed and approved, your drug offense attorney is responsible for representing you at the crown screening and for helping you complete any legal paperwork involved with the admission process. After that, you are responsible for participating and completing several programs that deal with recovering from a drug addiction, behavioral training and more.
If you are interested in killing two birds with one stone by dealing with your addiction and avoiding fines and penalties that would have applied in traditional criminal justice processing systems, speak with a drug offense lawyer immediately. The application process is quite complicated, and you must build a compelling case regarding why you should be chosen to participate considering the lack of openings available.