Getting help for drug and alcohol issues is always a good idea, regardless if you’ve been arrested. But facing criminal charges in Virginia that stem from substance abuse is certainly not a rare occurrence. Approximately 18% of all state and federal inmates reported that they committed their crimes to obtain money for drugs.
This accounts for a lot of crime and not just drug charges. Drug abuse is a significant factor in property and larceny offenses, like shoplifting, robbery, and burglary. Fortunately, the justice system and the Virginia Assembly are showing progress in identifying and addressing the root issue – substance abuse.
While a lot depends on your particular situation and the severity of the offense in question, accepting responsibility for your drug issues and going to rehab is an excellent way to improve your legal circumstances. For example, completing drug treatment in Virginia can lead to a dismissal, less time in custody, and other favorable alternatives.
Like any serious legal matter, your best resource for determining how treatment can benefit your case is an experienced, local defense attorney. Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico has been helping Virginia residents and their families with criminal charges for over 50 years. Call (540) 343-9349 for a free, confidential consultation about your options.
Treatment Helps Even If It’s Not the First Offense?
Everyone knows that the penalties are typically a lot lighter for someone’s first encounter with the justice system. In Virginia, this is particularly true for your first drug-related charge. Under § 18.2-251, the Commonwealth allows first-time drug offenders to be placed on probation and conditional drug treatment through Virginia’s Drug Treatment Court.
If you meet the requirements, drug court is a great option. It lets you address substance issues early, gives you resources, and successful completion typically results in a reduced or dismissed charge.
Unfortunately, and like anyone struggling with addiction will attest to, a clean criminal record is uncommon. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. An honest admission of responsibility and participation in rehab can still make an impact.
Depending on the Virginia County and sometimes individual Commonwealth Attorney, your defense lawyer can make a case for a lighter sentence and favorable terms based on you completing a rehab program. For instance, even if you’re record is less than perfect, your lawyer can often negotiate to reduce a felony for a theft that you only committed to buy drugs to a much less serious misdemeanor.
Rehab Can Also Reduce Your Sentence
Look, under Virginia’s sentencing guidelines, if you’re convicted for certain drug crimes or offenses related to your addiction, you can’t trade mandatory minimum time in custody for time in a rehab facility. That being said, Virginia judges do have a fair amount of authority and discretion in sentencing decisions.
When prosecutors aren’t willing to compromise on the charges themselves, a capable defense lawyer can argue for a lenient sentence. Essentially, your lawyer presents your genuine desire to get help as a mitigating factor to lessen any negative impact on your life.
For people with jobs and families that depend on them working, locking you up doesn’t do society any good. Your lawyer may show the benefit of home confinement, so you can continue working and provide for your family during treatment.
Rehab is More Affordable Than You Think
The price tag attached to drug treatment is usually a hurdle, especially for those financing a drug problem with criminal acts. However, improving your circumstances and possibly serving less time is not just an option for people with the financial means to pay for private rehab.
Recognizing the need for quality substance treatment, many quality facilities accept Medicaid, and recovery grants and scholarships are available that provide financial and emotional support for those working towards sober living.
Work With a Compassionate & Experienced Defense Lawyer
Contrary to what many think, not everyone who commits a crime is a criminal. Those suffering from addiction deserve the chance to get help and improve their lives. Going to rehab is an excellent way to address your drug problem while demonstrating your commitment to staying out of trouble.
Your options and eligibility vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances involved. Your defense lawyer is best suited to evaluate your options and how getting treatment benefits you and your case.
With decades of experience in Virginia courts, Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico will review the details, determine how drug treatment can improve your situation, and guide your next steps. Call (540) 343-9349 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.