How the Court System Can Save Lives

After many years of assisting patients, families, and lawyers to manage the ongoing devastation of substance abuse and mental health issues, I’ve learned how truly problematic addiction can be. Addiction affects not only the addicted but affects all parties involved. In a way, it’s no one’s fault, but at the same time, it is everyone’s fault.

If one could plant themselves in a courtroom and pay attention to what is going on, by the end of the day he or she would be amazed by the wide array of cases that are fueled by drug and alcohol abuse. Whether it is a DUI, theft, assault, battery, fraud, or a myriad of other illegal crimes (felony or misdemeanor) the common denominator of substance’s being involved frequently remains the same.(Don’t believe me and don’t want to take the time to go sit through court proceedings? I challenge you to turn on the TV show Cops or spend a day watching the Investigation Discovery channel. You will quickly lose count of how many of the crimes being portrayed on these programs involve substances in one way or another!)

I think for you to get an understanding of how the court normally deals with substance abuse issues we should take a look at some of the different roles that take place in the courtroom. First, we have a defendant who has been charged, very likely, multiple times. Then we have the State Attorney’s office that is prosecuting the defendant. The Judge assigned to this division of law in the County that has grown increasingly frustrated with each court appearance made by this particular defendant. And, finally, the probation department that has also become all too familiar with this defendant. As the case unfolds, all of us bearing witness to this case know that drugs and alcohol are at the core, but the real consuming issue appears to be recidivism. What should be done with this individual? Throw them in jail again? Sentence them to a 5-year probation?

These options seem outdated and still leave the individual to deal with the underlying issue on their own!

One of the best tools for non-violent offenders in South Florida has become Drug Court. Drug Court’s role is to mandate treatment in lieu of prosecution. Once the defendant completes the drug court program, they are able to have their related charges dropped and their record expunged of any arrests involved in this case. Most importantly, the larger issue at hand gets addressed and they receive help for their substance abuse disorders that seemed to be ignored prior to drug court’s inception.

Being that I’ve done this for more years than I’d like to divulge, I have had the privilege of working with many great lawyers that really understand how to help their clients that are dealing with substance abuse disorder related crimes. In my opinion, one of the factors that separates one lawyer from another is that some lawyers are focused on the specific charge and, more importantly, the disposition of the case.

It has been my experience with some lawyers to truly help their clients to not re-offend by using a treatment model and hopefully initiate alternative sentencing. Sometimes the attempt to avoid harsh legal consequences can be the only motivating source for an individual to turn his or her life around. An attorney that utilizes this motivation to help steer a patient into treatment can be life-saving in addition to reducing or avoiding the momentary charge. When an attorney is able to utilize treatment as an alternative to sentencing they have a real shot at not only mitigating the charges but avoiding recidivism and giving their client a new shot at life. There are numerous attorneys in practice, who I have had the pleasure in working with, that take this stance. Many of the local Fort Lauderdale-based attorneys utilize skill and compassionate to take advantage of the sentinel moments in the life of the substance abuser so they may have an opportunity not to recidivate.

The court system appears to be evolving with many defense lawyers, state and federal attorneys, judges, and probation officers beginning to recognize the most salient of provinces, which is TREATMENT WORKS! I believe that educating courthouse personnel is something that needs to be implemented in an aggressive fashion. The benefits are realized by clients, the judicial system, families, employers, and the community itself. It comes down to one simple fact, in the end, these interventions can save and salvage precious lives.

Seeking Treatment

The important thing in all of this is that you seek help for your drug addiction. Do not let fear keep you from the life you have always wanted. You do not need to fight this disease alone and any and all concerns that you have can be addressed as you move through the process of recovery. So call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today, at 1-866-771-7091. We are standing by to help you finally overcome your addiction.