The United States modern criminal justice system does little to help people struggling with serious mental health and addiction issues. Instead of offering support, our system is designed to incarcerate away addiction.
Drug and DUI courts are specialty courts that aim to help rehabilitate those who have committed criminal acts because of an addiction. Although most people think of serious drug issues when thinking of the drug courts, South Dakota also allows those facing felony offenses because of alcohol addiction an opportunity to get help through DUI or Drug courts instead of standard criminal court.
How does going through a DUI or Drug court benefit you as a defendant?
Drug and DUI courts helps you get treatment
The first and most crucial thing that differentiates drug court from a criminal one is the former’s focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. If you qualify for the drug or DUI courts, then the judge overseeing your case will likely order intensive treatment. Counseling is often necessary for people to discover the root cause of their addiction and tackle their chemical dependence. Court is frequent, often weekly at the beginning, with a variety of resources available to the offender. These specialty courts are not easy to complete.
However, successful completion of drug or DUI court could mean no criminal record
If you plead guilty just to avoid jail time, then you will spend the rest of your life with a criminal record. A felony record doesn’t look good to employers, landlords or educational institutions.
These specialty courts gives you a chance to wipe the slate clean. If you complete all of the treatment and other requirements set by the court, then you can potentially avoid a criminal record that would limit your options for the rest of your life.
While not everyone will qualify for participation in this program, it may change the course of your life if you do.