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Can you avoid a criminal record if addiction led to your arrest?


For many criminal offenses, the intent of the accused party is an important consideration. People don’t face assault charges if they trip and bump into someone, but they do if they intentionally shove that person with the intent to insult or injure them. Establishing criminal intent is often simple in cases involving theft or physical violence.

Someone’s intent is harder to understand when it comes to drug offenses like possession. Individuals under the influence of a mind-altering substance or struggling with addiction may make decisions that they rationally would never make when sober and not facing the threat of withdrawal. Those struggling with addiction may commit crimes in no small part to maintain a supply of their substance of choice.

Although raising claims about your chemical impairment won’t be a successful defense strategy, there could be another way in which your substance abuse could help you avoid a criminal conviction.

You can ask for adjudication in the adult drug treatment courts

Virginia has several alternative court programs that focus on rehabilitation and addressing the underlying cause of someone’s criminal infractions. The adult drug treatment courts are an option for certain non-violent offenders who can show that chemical dependence contributed to their criminal activity.

If you qualify for proceedings in the drug courts instead of the criminal courts, you will likely have to submit to drug testing. You will attend frequent meetings with court professionals, and you will have to undergo treatment for your substance abuse disorder. However, if you successfully complete all the requirements set by the judge presiding over your case, you won’t have a criminal record when you are done. You don’t have to go back to criminal court and won’t serve a sentence.

Essentially, you can move on with your life without worrying about your inability to pass a drug test. The drug courts require a commitment to getting better, and they also require careful adherence to the requirements set in your case. Still, if you do complete the process successfully, it can eliminate the life-altering penalties typically associated with Virginia drug charges.

Looking into all of your options can help you avoid the worst consequences of addiction-related drug charges.

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