When you’re facing drug or alcohol charges, getting treatment is important not just for personal and health reasons, but also as a piece of an appropriate defense. Charges involving addiction include possession of marijuana or methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, DUI (driving under the influence), and other possession-type charges. Being able to show that you are taking steps to deal with your addiction is extremely important in your defense.
Below are two significant ways that a treatment plan can assist in your defense to these charges.
In-patient treatment can count as jail time
In the event that you’re facing serious charges that will require you to do jail time, doing a treatment plan and spending time in an in-patient treatment center can be credited towards jail time. In-patient treatment means that you have spent time in a facility where you spent the night and received intensive treatment. If you were in such a facility, the time that you spent there can be credited towards your jail time. For example, if you spend two weeks in a treatment facility, and end up sentenced to a month in jail, you will be nearly halfway finished by the time you check in for your first night in jail.
In-patient treatment plans can feel extreme, and we’ve found that clients are resistant to seeking this sort of treatment. It feels like jail—until you compare it to the possibility of actually going to jail. There can also be significant financial costs to in-patient programs depending on your insurance situation.
If health insurance covers in-patient treatment, you should consider taking advantage of this immediately, as health insurance plans do not typically cover such treatment if it is court-ordered. Taking advantage of an in-patient program right away can allow you to have it covered by insurance and then to use it as part of your defense mitigation after the fact.
In other words, you should aggressively and proactively pursue in-patient treatment at the beginning of the criminal process. Doing so means that it may be covered by your insurance. Even if you have no insurance, in-patient programs are almost always better than jail.
Out-patient programs are helpful too
Short of in-patient programs, simple steps like Alcoholics Anonymous or church-run programs can help to give you tools to combat addiction, to identify dangerous warnings that you might slip up, and can provide accountability to build toward new habits. As discussed below, this is helpful to show a prosecutor or judge as the process moves forward.
Proactive treatment can factor into your attorney’s arguments for a better plea agreement on your possession or other addiction-related charges
Although this is not always the case, when your defense attorney can show a prosecutor and police officers that you have been proactive with your treatment, they often are more willing to consider better offers. In addition, judges at sentencing who hold the power to confirm or deny a favorable plea agreement are often more persuaded by the steps that someone has taken to get serious treatment before being required to do so, even if it was after being arrested or charged with a crime.
Not every judge is the same, and of course not all prosecutors or officers will be won over by this step. However, there are very few ways to show that you’re serious about getting help quite like an aggressive treatment plan. Everyone tells a judge at sentencing that they want to get their life together. Showing that you’re willing to do so before being ordered to do so by a court can be persuasive in convincing the court or prosecutor that this is the truth.
Conclusion: Treatment plans are a helpful part of your defense
If nothing else, getting help and getting treatment is never a wasted decision when you’re facing drug or alcohol charges. For many people, charges can be a wake-up call that helps get them back on the right track. If you have questions about your charges or how treatment plans can impact what you’re facing, contact Cornerstone Law Firm today.