In response to the rising opiate addition crisis in Virginia and across the country, many states are establishing "drug courts." These courts can offer a way for an individual charged with a drug crime to find treatment and rehabilitation rather than jail time and probation. Within the next year, the first adult drug court is scheduled to open in the Virginia Beach area.
At this point, the commonwealth of Virginia has 23 adult drug courts, seven juvenile drug courts, two DUI drug courts and two family drug courts. On a basic level, the drug courts are programs that target nonviolent offenders with felony convictions that are generally drug related or are related to grand larceny committed in the effort to seek drugs. Candidates for this program are initially referred by their defense attorneys.
After referral, candidates are screened by the courts and then by treatment providers before they are accepted. After screening, candidates who are admitted to the program will be required to appear before a judge every week for 18 to 20 months. During this time, the candidates will be required to participate in intensive counseling programs and supervision, and to submit to standard and random drug tests.
Those charged with a drug crime in Virginia may want to consider this option. Most in this situation seek legal representation from an attorney who has experience in criminal law and defending cases involving drug charges. An attorney who practices in this area will be in the position to understand local, state and national laws which could affect the outcome of a trial, and will be able to advise his or her client as to the best legal path available.
Source: southsidedaily.com, "First adult drug court in Virginia Beach to open next year", Justin Belichis, Oct. 24, 2016