Residents of New City who find themselves facing drug charges may not know that there may be an alternative to traditional courts in such situations – drug courts. In a drug court, an individual may receive a reduced sentence in exchange for voluntarily going through a court-supervised drug treatment program. New York State is a leader in the drug court movement, with 141 drug courts currently operating in the state as of January 2016.

What types of drug courts are available in New York? First of all, there are criminal drug courts. Sometimes individuals face drug charges when they are addicted to drugs – an addiction which allegedly played a role in the alleged crime. Individuals in these situations may be given the option to go through a criminal drug treatment court program. By doing so, they could receive a lesser sentence or even have the charges against them dropped entirely.

In addition, there are young adult drug treatment courts, which are a subset of the state criminal drug courts. These may be available to individuals between 16-years-old to 21-years-old. They offer individuals the opportunity to participate in programs that target substance abuse.

Third, there are family drug treatment courts, which may assist parents who find themselves facing allegations of neglect due to drug use. The proper completion of such programs could result in the reunification of parents with their children.

Finally, there are juvenile drug treatment courts. If a juvenile successfully completes a program set forth by the juvenile drug treatment court, the petition against them for person in need of supervision or juvenile delinquency may be dismissed.

Drug courts are one option that those facing drug offenses may want to learn more about, particularly if it could result in a reduced sentence or the charges being dropped altogether. It is important that those facing addiction get the help they need, rather than being severely punished.