Drug offenses, in many cases, are committed because of a person’s addiction to drugs or their difficulties with substance abuse. When a person is convicted of a drug-related crime, they are often thrown into prison with little or no support for their recovery. Additionally, when they leave prison, they will have a criminal record, which can make life significantly more difficult.
As such, many people who suffer from a substance abuse problem and have been convicted of a crime end up in a vicious cycle of drug addiction, mental illness, criminal drug charges, and prison systems. The criminal justice system is not the place to deal with drug addiction effectively, as prosecutors and police officers care more about securing a criminal conviction than protecting the futures and best interests of those accused of drug crimes.
If you want to break free from the drug addiction and criminality cycle, it is strongly encouraged to seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Hirsch Law Group, our attorneys know too well how negative the criminal justice system can be for those with an addiction problem. Our lawyers have helped many clients fight their drug possession charges and guide them toward a substance abuse treatment program to begin their road to recovery.
The lawyers at our firm want to help protect your future and ensure that your life is not significantly impacted by drug charges. Having worked as prosecutors, we have the skills necessary to provide an aggressive defense on your behalf. We will petition your case to get heard in a drug court, to get your charges thrown out, and ensure that you get the treatment you need for your drug problems.
Unfortunately, drug addiction is a major problem in Illinois, and all throughout the United States. Since the beginning of the War on Drugs, people have been engaging in criminal activity in order to access and afford drugs that they are addicted to. To this day, many drug offenders that face criminal charges such as drug possession, distribution, and trafficking, suffer from serious substance use disorders.
Studies have shown that continued use of drugs and alcohol abuse can significantly change a person’s brain chemistry, resulting in serious behavioral changes. Many people do things that they would never have done if they were not using drugs, such as stealing from friends and family to pay for an illicit drug or carrying drugs in public. As a result, many people who suffer from a substance use disorder end up in the criminal legal process, and in turn with a criminal record.
Consequences of a Drug Conviction
Being convicted of a drug-related offense can have serious, long-lasting consequences. Whether you have been convicted of drug possession offenses, distribution, or trafficking, the penalties can be quite severe. You may face harsher penalties depending on the particular circumstances of your case, including the type of drug found in your possession and whether you have prior offenses. These penalties could include jail time, major fines, and a long probation period.
The most dangerous drugs, as regarded by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fall within Schedule I, II, and III, and they carry the most severe penalties. Drugs in these categories include cocaine, LSD, heroin, and fentanyl. Even for a first-time serious offense of drug possession, you could face severe jail time, community service, and major fines.
In addition to the initial penalties resulting from a drug conviction, you will receive a permanent criminal conviction for most drug-related charges. The serious consequences of a criminal record can impact the rest of your life. With a permanent record, you will find it more difficult to find employment opportunities, access education, apply for a loan from a financial institution, vote in elections, and much more.
The criminal system, which is comprised of prosecutors, Judges, and the police, does not have sympathy for drug-abusing offenders. Typically, the priority is to get cases through the court system as soon as possible and secure convictions. As such, those who have been accused of drug-related charges are at a major disadvantage. One way to help your case and get your life back on track is to seek treatment for your drug abuse problem.
Benefits of an Addiction Treatment Program
Whether you are currently facing criminal charges for drug crimes or have already been convicted, attending a rehab facility or addiction treatment program can be the most helpful way to fight your drug problem and break free from addiction. Unfortunately, studies have shown that over 90% of inmates who leave prison go on to consume drugs or alcohol shortly after. If you suffer from addiction, you are much more likely to resume your addiction after prison if you do not attend rehab.
However, people who attend rehab or go through substance abuse treatment are significantly more likely to stop using drugs and alcohol and not engage in further criminal activity. By attending a drug treatment program, you can effectively begin the recovery process, get support from professionals and peers, attend therapy sessions, and learn how to live life without drugs or alcohol.
In addition, seeking addiction treatment can be hugely beneficial to your case, particularly if you are a first-time offender. If you can demonstrate to the Judge that you are making attempts to fight your substance abuse problem, by attending a rehab facility or an addiction treatment program, they will be more likely to dismiss charges or order a lower penalty. A criminal defense lawyer can use this as evidence that you are seeking rehabilitation and do not want to engage in criminal activities.
What is a Drug Court?
In addition to traditional court proceedings in Illinois, many counties have begun to use drug courts to deal with the significant amount of drug crimes occurring each year. A drug court is built specifically to handle drug crimes and usually adopts an alternative sentencing method, focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The purpose of drug courts is to reduce the prison population and to allow those who suffer from substance use disorders to access treatment.
It can be difficult to get your case admitted to a drug court, however, and it is typically more accessible to first-time offenders. To get your case heard in a drug court, an attorney must make an application on your behalf and demonstrate that your case meets the requirements. In some cases, you may have to plead guilty to the criminal charges to get your case heard, or your lawyer may be able to get the criminal proceedings postponed.
Court-Ordered Rehab Program
The alternative sentencing method adopted by drug courts in Illinois is court-ordered rehab. Rather than sending those who suffer from addiction to jail, these courts will usually order that the defendant attend a rehab program for the duration of their sentence. Depending on the particular drug charge and the nature of your illicit drug use, the rehab facility that you attend may vary.
When you are sentenced to court-ordered rehab, you are required to abide by the guidelines set out by the Judge, which can include an in-house rehab facility or daily drug testing. If you break your sentence by not showing up to the treatment facility or testing positive for drugs, you may face harsher penalties and get your case removed from drug court and into the criminal court system.
To get your case admitted to court-ordered rehab instead of jail time, the Judge will initially carry out a screening process. During this process, medical professionals will assess whether you have a drug addiction, whether this addiction caused you to commit the crime you are accused of, and whether you would benefit from a treatment facility. Without the backing of an experienced lawyer, it can be significantly more difficult to get your case accepted to a drug court.
Will The Judge Allow Court-Ordered Rehab in My Case?
In addition to the screening process outlined above, the Judge presiding over your case has the final decision on whether a court-ordered rehab program is the best option for your case. Even though in many cases, those convicted of drug crimes are likely to commit similar crimes upon their release, Judges are quite reluctant to give people second chances. If the following factors are met, the Judge may order court-ordered rehab:
- The crime you are accused of was committed because of substance abuse problems, either directly or indirectly
- The crime was non-violent
- The accused has had no violent crimes on their criminal record for the past 10 years
- The accused qualifies for a probationary sentence
- The Judge presiding over the case believes that court-ordered rehab would benefit the accused
The aim of court-ordered rehab is to provide a treatment process for those convicted of a crime to allow them to recover from drug addiction. If you have previously been admitted to a court-ordered rehabilitation program and you later relapse, resulting in further crimes, you will be prohibited from attending a drug court again.
Going to Rehab on Probation
If you were unable to get your case heard in the drug courts and you received a probation sentence, it may still be possible to attend rehab or an addiction treatment center. Seeking treatment while on probation can often be beneficial to your case as it demonstrates to the Judge that you are seeking help for your substance abuse disorder and are making attempts to change your life.
Depending on the situation, a lawyer can use your rehab attendance as proof that you have learned from your mistakes and try to get your sentence reduced substantially. Most importantly, however, you will be given the opportunity to effectively recover from your addiction problems by attending a rehabilitation center. It is important to speak with your lawyer about the terms of your probation and whether or not they allow you to attend treatment facilities.
In most cases, your lawyer will be able to help you choose a treatment facility and plan that works with your probation requirements. If you do not inform your probation officer that you are attending rehab, you may get into further trouble and potentially be sent back to prison. As such, if you do attend rehab while on probation, it is important that you communicate effectively with your probation officer.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Facing drug charges and being convicted of a criminal offense can be a terrifying experience for most people. Too often, people get caught up in the criminal legal system because of their drug or alcohol abuse problems, whether it is a prescription medicine, heroin, or cocaine addiction. Once you are in the criminal system it is extremely difficult to get out and turn your life around.
Taking the steps to attend a rehabilitation center can be a great way to get your life back on track, however, the most important thing for any drug case is to get legal help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Coming up against the criminal court system without a legal representative is extremely risky, as the system is built against defendants and in favor of prosecutors and police officers. Without legal backing, your case will just be another number that is passed through and convicted with ease.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you firstly by petitioning to get your case heard in the drug courts, and fighting for court-ordered rehab on your behalf. To get accepted to these courts, your lawyer will have to submit an application and prove that you meet the requirements. There can be a lot of paperwork involved when it comes to criminal courts, and a good lawyer will take care of all the complexities on your behalf.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will do everything in their power to ensure that you do not fall victim to the American prison system. They will build a strong criminal defense on your behalf, fight against your charges, and ensure that your legal rights and your future are protected.
Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hirsch Law Group
At Hirsch Law Group, we have been helping clients with criminal drug cases for over 15 years. Our law firm is made up of a team of former prosecutors that now work as aggressive criminal defense attorneys, protecting the rights of Illinois citizens. Because of our experience on the other side of the field, we know the dirty tactics that they will use to secure a conviction and get your case through the court system as soon as possible.
The lawyers in our firm fight tirelessly to prevent people accused of crimes from becoming another number in the prison population. We understand the unique challenges faced by those who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction and we know that ‘getting sober’ is not that easy. Because of this, we want to help you begin on your path to recovery by fighting for rehab on your behalf, defending your criminal charges, and guiding you toward recovery and support programs.
If you hire us as your lawyers, we will fight tooth and nail to get your case heard in the drug courts, get court-ordered rehab as an alternative to prison, or get your charges thrown out completely. Our priority is ensuring that you feel protected while going through the legal process and that your best interests are the primary consideration.
Our managing attorney, Gordon H. Hirsch has been listed amongst the Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Chicago 2022 by Enterprise.com and has an AVVO rating of 10.0, which is the highest score attainable. All of our lawyers have significant experience fighting criminal charges and protecting the rights of the accused.
Why You Should Go to Rehab After a Drug Conviction
A huge percentage of the prison population in America suffers from some form of drug or alcohol addiction. Most people who commit drug-related crimes do so because of their addiction, whether it is in order to afford drugs or because they were under the influence at the time of the alleged crime. Once you get convicted of a crime however and enter into the criminal system, it is quite difficult to break free and begin a new chapter of your life.
The best things to do if you have been convicted of or charged with a drug crime, are to attend a rehabilitation center and seek legal assistance. By attending a treatment facility for your addiction, you can allow yourself the opportunity to break free from the cycle of addiction and criminality and ensure that you are not further criminalized by the system.
With the help of a lawyer, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not fall into the criminal legal system. An experienced criminal defense lawyer from Hirsch Law Group can fight tirelessly to protect your well-being and your future. Our law firm has a team of experienced attorneys who have the skills necessary to get a favorable outcome in your case, whether it is getting your charges dropped or getting court-ordered rehab.