The “War on Drugs” has been an expensive proposition that has put many of our own citizens in prison and cost massive amounts of money that could have gone toward schools and infrastructure or stayed in the pockets of taxpayers. What harsh penalties and the “lock 'em up” approach haven't done is curb narcotics addiction or narcotic-related crime.
The state of Alabama still has strict penalties, but has taken steps toward an approach that focuses less on punishment and more on rehabilitation. Drug courts are part of that approach. Drug courts are aimed to reduce recidivism by offenders by rehabilitating them and helping them become productive citizens.
Huntsville Drug Court Lawyer
If you've been charged with certain narcotic related crimes, you may be eligible to go through drug court. Our dedicated lawyers at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal can help you determine your eligibility, and can serve as your advocate during the legal process. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
In appropriate cases, your lawyer can advocate for you to participate in the drug court program. While the state now has pretrial intervention programs available in some instances, these would not be available for someone with prior narcotic related convictions. Drug court, however, may be a viable option for someone with previous narcotic related convictions. This option could allow someone to avoid a further conviction and the potential of prison. Andrew and Sandra Segal both have experience working as prosecutors and know how to “speak their language.” That could be a big help during negotiations.
Drug courts exist in counties throughout the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Morgan, Marshall, Limestone and Jackson. We can represent you in any of these courts.
Alabama Drug Court Information Center
- Eligibility for Madison County Drug Courts
- Elements of Alabama Drug Court
- Fighting Narcotics Charges in Madison County
Eligibility for Madison County Drug Courts
Only people charged with certain crimes are eligible for drug court. The charge has to be a certain type of narcotic offense, or the prosecution must allege that narcotics were a major factor in the circumstances leading to the charge.
The law enacting the courts specifically excludes narcotic charges for distribution, selling, and trafficking or manufacturing. The drug court aims to help substance users, and not those in the narcotics business, despite the fact that those distributing or manufacturing narcotics are frequently addicts themselves. That leaves people who are charged with possession of any kind of controlled substance.
Drug court programs also extend to crimes that are narcotic-related. For instance, if a person is charged with theft, and the allegations are that the person was stealing to fund a narcotic addiction, that person may be eligible. However, the law excludes people who have been convicted of a violent felony or any felony involving a firearm, and people who have pending charges for such crimes. The law also excludes registered sex offenders and people charged with felony sex offenses.
Violent crimes, under Alabama law, include:
- Murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
- First and second degree assault.
- Rape, sodomy and first degree sexual abuse.
- First and second degree domestic violence.
- Certain charges of burglary.
- Other crimes involving injury or substantial risk of injury.
Therefore, if someone is charged with robbing a store to pay for illegal substances, that person would not be eligible, even though such a person might desperately need rehabilitation.
Let's say you are charged with shoplifting. All the prosecutor knows is that you were caught trying to walk out of a store with goods you didn't pay for. But maybe you intended the pawn the goods to get money to spend on a crushing meth habit, and that's the only reason you shoplifted. An attorney on your side could bring that to the court's attention and argue why you should be eligible a pre-trial intervention program.
Elements of Alabama Drug Court
If you are charged with a narcotics crime, a drug defense attorney in Huntsville can help you review whether you are eligible for a drug court program. If the program accepts you, your attorney will enter a plea agreement with the District Attorney. The plea agreement will include a sentence of jail times and fines. You will not have to serve the sentence unless you fail to meet the requirements of the program. The plea agreement must be accepted by the court.
Once in the program, you will begin a strict schedule of counseling and reporting. You will be assigned to a drug court supervisor, to whom you must regularly report. You will report to the court on a regular basis, too. You must submit to regular narcotics tests and stay clean. You must stay employed or in school. There may be other rules and restrictions that apply to you. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you could be sanctioned and removed from the program, meaning you'll have to serve the sentence in your plea agreement. Keeping with the program is hard work. Our drug court attorneys can go over the program and your charges and help you determine your best option.
Once you are done with the program, your charges are dismissed, giving you a record clear of any convictions and the chance to start life fresh.
Fighting Narcotics Charges in Madison County
At Law Offices Of Segal & Segal, our team can advise you on your best options and represent you throughout the legal process. If you've been charged with a narcotic related offense, you may have an opportunity to seek rehabilitation and a clean record through drug court. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message for a free consultation to talk about your charges.