Drug addiction can have many consequences. Sometimes, people may commit crimes such as theft to help feed their addiction.

The law would often ignore the addiction component of a drug-related crime. The result was jails full of low-level offenders who would not receive treatment for their underlying problems. However, things are changing. It may now be possible to receive an alternative sentence for drug-related crimes rather than going directly to jail.

Drug treatment courts and diversion programs

New York has several drug treatment courts designed to handle non-violent drug offenses. These courts tend to focus more on rehabilitation than punishment. Many times, these courts will recommend an offender enter into a diversion program.

Usually, a diversion program will involve some form of drug treatment and rehabilitation. A community service component is another hallmark of this approach. Also, there will usually be a probationary period where an offender will have to avoid any further legal troubles. If an offender fails to comply with the terms of a diversion program, they will likely receive a jail sentence.

These programs may still result in a criminal record

Enrollment in a diversion program is often up to the prosecutor’s discretion. You may still be required to plead guilty to your criminal charges as a condition of an alternative sentencing arrangement.

Is a diversion program the right option for you?

Whether you qualify for a diversion program depends on what charges you are facing and whether you have a criminal history. A skilled professional can discuss your options and provide you with the information you need to take the right path forward.