When you were caught with drugs in your possession, you weren’t worried at first. It seemed like a small amount. The illicit drugs were a friend’s, and you didn’t intend to transport or sell them at all. They were simply left in your vehicle.
Getting caught with even a small amount of a drug can lead to serious penalties, though. Depending on what you were in possession of at the time of an arrest, you could face a prison sentence, heavy fines, community service and other penalties.
Additionally, the prosecution may try to stack charges against you, which is something to be acutely aware of. That means that the prosecution may try to say you were trying to sell the drugs if you were in a school zone or that you endangered a child if you had a child in your vehicle when you were stopped and the drugs were found.
Your attorney’s job is to make sure that any traffic stop or search performed was legal. They’ll also work to make sure you are not facing charges that aren’t fair based on your circumstances. If you’re offered a plea deal and you want to assert your innocence, that’s something you can do, too.
If a conviction is likely, another option may be to go through drug court to avoid imprisonment.
Alternatives to jail time: Attending drug court
In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there are alternatives to going to jail for drug crimes. Both states have drug courts that offer other options to some people accused of drug-related acts. In most cases, the programs require that offenses are nonviolent.
The nice thing about the drug courts, regardless of the state you’re in, is that they are designed to help reduce the likelihood of a re-offense and to keep you out of prison. They may also help minimize the impact of substance use disorders on communities by treating drug-related illnesses rather than imprisoning those who have addictions.
If you’re interested in going through the alternative sentencing programs in a drug court, your attorney will talk to you about the specific requirements of the drug court in your area. All courts programs in different counties have their own eligibility requirements, though some may be shared between them.