Certain defendants facing drug-related charges in Philadelphia might be eligible for drug treatment court. If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to participate in drug court, there are other options to explore, but jail time might be possible.
If you want to avoid drug court, you should talk to your attorney about the possibility of jail time. If you are found guilty, jail time is likely, depending on the charges. Drug treatment court works by allowing defendants to enter no-contest pleas, have their cases set aside by the judge, and go through drug treatment programs. If successful, the defendant can avoid jail and have their charges dismissed. While many people prefer drug court, you might have reasons for wanting to avoid it. Talk to an attorney so you can make an informed decision. If you do not want to enter drug court, fighting your charges in court in the hopes of getting a not-guilty verdict might be your next best option.
Call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 and arrange for a free review of your case and legal options.
Can I Avoid Jail if I Do Not Attend Drug Treatment Court in Philadelphia?
Drug treatment court, often referred to simply as drug court, is a program administered by each county, including Philadelphia County. Participants in the program can avoid jail while undergoing extensive drug and alcohol treatment. Although this program is designed as an alternative to more standard judicial remedies, it is not always for everyone. If you want to avoid drug court, you might face jail time, but this is not guaranteed.
If you do not wish to participate in drug court or are ineligible to do so, you may still pursue a trial with our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys, a judge, and a jury. Whether jail time is on the table depends on your charges. For many, jail time is a mandatory minimum requirement upon sentencing. For others, alternatives like probation might be available. Talk to your lawyer about your charges to determine if jail time is required in your case.
Even if jail time is a required part of a sentence upon conviction, you must actually be convicted first. There is a chance that you might be found not guilty, you would have to serve no time in jail, and there would be no conviction on your record. Just remember, trials are very difficult, and getting a jury verdict in your favor might be extremely hard or practically impossible, depending on the evidence.
How Drug Treatment Courts Work in Philadelphia
Drug courts are an alternative to a standard trial and potential sentence. Eligible defendants are often charged with non-violent drug-related offenses. If you are facing drug-related charges that are also violent or involve weapons, you might not be eligible. On top of that, only defendants with no criminal history or a very limited criminal record may be eligible for drug court.
Those that are eligible and enter the program are required to enter a no-contest plea. This is effectively the same as a guilty plea and may lead directly to sentencing in other circumstances. Upon entrance of the plea, the court will set aside your plea and allow you to enter the drug court program.
The program often takes about a year to complete and involves intensive drug and alcohol counseling, education, and therapy. The goal is to help defendants with serious drug dependency issues overcome these issues. People who complete the program are less likely to re-offend.
When a defendant completes the program successfully, the court may dismiss the no-contest plea and dismiss the charges. This allows the defendant to move on without a conviction to weigh them down. If you fail or drop out of the program, the court may formally enter the plea and sentence you to jail.
Is There a Good Reason to Avoid Drug Treatment Court in Philadelphia?
Many attorneys and defendants alike consider drug treatment court programs a great option for people who want to get treatment and possibly avoid going to jail. However, not everyone wants to go through the program. While your lawyer might advise you to consider the program, it is up to you whether you want to go through with it.
Some people want to avoid drug court programs because they believe they did nothing wrong. The drug court program might help you avoid a conviction and jail time, but it is time-consuming. If someone believes they are not guilty, they might not want to go through the program. The alternative would be to go to trial and argue your case before a judge and jury.
You might want to avoid entering a plea and going through drug court if your odds of success at trial are high. Talk about your case with your lawyer. If you have enough evidence to establish reasonable doubt, you might avoid a conviction and not need drug court. However, many defendants have difficulty viewing their case impartially, believing their evidence is stronger than it is. Your attorney can advise you on whether drug court is a good idea.
What Should I Do if I Do Not Want to Go Through Drug Treatment Court in Philadelphia?
If you truly want to avoid the drug court process, first, you should have a conversation with your attorney. Since the drug court program is widely viewed as a preferable alternative, your attorney will likely want a good reason why you do not want to go through with it.
Discuss your charges and any evidence you might have with your lawyer. If the odds of an acquittal are good, your attorney can help you prepare for a trial. Trial preparations are extensive, and you should begin as early as possible. If an acquittal does not seem possible, you should talk about the possibility of going through the drug court program if you are eligible.
Contact Our Philadelphia Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
Call our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 and make arrangements for a free assessment of your legal options to get your case started.