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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

How California drug courts work

If you've ever known anyone that has developed a dependency on drugs, then you're probably well aware of just how difficult it is for someone to overcome their addiction without outside help. In cases like this, it takes an intervention, whether initiated by family, a friend or law enforcement, to get them the help they need to get their life back on track.

When it comes to drug abusers, unless they receive the necessary treatment they need to overcome their addiction, there's a high probability that they will end up in legal turmoil again. Signed into effect on Jan. 1, 1998 as part of Rule of Court Standard 4.10, California's Drug Diversion Court Program can help drug abusers get the necessary help they need.

Operated as an alternative sentencing program under the jurisdiction of the California Collaborative Justice Court system, California's Drug Court was created in hopes of curbing both addiction and recidivism among drug abusers. It was designed to allow non-violent defendants charged with drug crimes to receive much-needed access to treatment for their dependencies, under close watch of both a judge and probation officer.

The drug court maintains its own case calendar and relies upon a unique team management approach to addressing drug dependencies. As a result, participants in the program undergo intensive treatment and are subject to continued monitoring and care lasting as much as a year.

During this time frame, the court also works in collaboration with criminal and family courts in hopes on reaching a resolution in those matters. As an example, a drug court judge may be able to order necessary treatment that helps address underlying issues that led a defendant's child to being removed from the home or address issues that adversely impact their right to either child custody or visitation as well.

Defendants that comply with the requirements made of them, including continuing their education, getting counseling and meeting drug testing requirements, are allowed to have all criminal proceedings suspended while they do. They might also qualify to have criminal charges dismissed altogether as well as allowed under California Rule of Court standard section 1000.5, of the penal code.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a drug-related offense, a Van Nuys, California, drug crimes attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.

Source:, "Drug courts," accessed March 17, 2017

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