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Drug court helps drug crimes defendants kick habit

Did you know that there is a special type of court for those Missouri residents who have been accused of non-violent drug violations? These criminal defendants -- many of whom are facing only minor drug charges -- do not necessarily need to be sent through the traditional court system. In fact, the Jackson County Drug Court can provide a variety of feasible alternatives to traditional penalties such as jail time.

Non-violent, lower-level offenders should not have to face serious consequences for their first-time violations. That concept spurred the development of the drug court program, which is designed to help defendants achieve sobriety, improve their health and even gain the education they need to become productive, engaged members of society. If you are facing minor drug offenses, you may be eligible for participation in the Jackson County Drug Court.

Just what does this program involve? First, a defendant must agree to participate in and complete a substance abuse treatment program. Community-based job training may also be required, and the defendant must stay drug-free during the program. The drug court program generally lasts about 12 to 18 months.

Prosecution is delayed until the defendant has successfully completed the requirements imposed by the drug court. In many cases, the defendants are able to greatly improve their lives by kicking their drug habit, obtaining an education -- and avoiding a criminal conviction that goes on their permanent record. Officials in Missouri recognize that drug abuse is not a simple problem that can be fixed only with jail time. In fact, substance abuse requires involved assistance, and those who suffer from this health problem should not be unfairly penalized.

If you are facing first-time or lower-level drug offenses, you may be eligible for the alternative prosecution provided by drug court. This drug diversion program can help you protect your future by eliminating the possibility of a criminal record. The vast majority of drug court graduates remain conviction-free after they complete the program; you, too, may be able to achieve this positive outcome.

Source: Jackson County Combat, "Jackson County Drug Court" Sep. 30, 2014

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