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Does Georgia consider addiction in drug crime cases?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Certain behavior violates Georgia state statutes. When prosecutors bring a criminal case against someone, they look at extenuating circumstances. In some cases, aggravating factors could lead to more serious penalties or more significant criminal charges.

Other times, there could be mitigating factors that could reduce the charges a prosecutor pursues or the penalties that the courts impose. Drug crimes are some of the most common offenses prosecuted in the Georgia criminal courts. Many controlled substance offenses are committed by people with substance abuse disorders.

Is addiction potentially a mitigating factor for someone who is facing drug charges in Georgia?

There could be alternative options available

Treating those with substance abuse disorders like hardened criminals has not resolved drug crime in the United States. Instead, those who get arrested once are likely to face charges again in the future. There are now alternatives in place that aim to prevent recidivism. Many people arrested once for a crime related to a substance abuse disorder may re-offend because they still have a substance abuse disorder.

The adult drug treatment courts are one way for defendants in Georgia to resolve the underlying issue that caused criminal activity. The drug courts are a form of alternative justice available to those accused of nonviolent offenses related to a substance abuse issue. They focus on treatment that can offer people hope rather than punishments that worsen someone’s life.

How do the drug courts operate?

The drug courts employ what is essentially a heightened form of probation to help people address substance abuse disorders. People who enter the drug courts agree to supervision and treatment.  Defendants have to meet with court professionals and attend meetings, including 12-step meetings. They complete substance abuse treatments and submit to random drug screening. All of that combined can help them achieve and maintain sobriety.

If someone fulfills all of the requirements set by the drug courts, they can move on with their lives without a criminal conviction. They can also avoid the penalties that the courts might impose for a standard conviction, including incarceration and fines. Drug court proceedings are one way of mitigating the harm caused by pending drug charges. This reality is just one example of why exploring every option can benefit those accused of breaking the law in Georgia.