In DUI and drug possession offenses (sometimes, even drug possession for sales cases!), especially where prior convictions exist, rehabilitation programs and/or residential treatment facilities may be an effective remedy for those clients who suffer from addiction and chronic abuse. Such treatment programs, whether out-patient or in-patient, not only deal with the immediate problems associated with addiction and substance abuse, but proper treatment can also help prevent further abuses in the future. More often than not, prosecutors and judges want such offenders to receive appropriate and meaningful treatment rather than simply serve time in county jail, or even state prison. And, in California, residential treatment can be ordered in lieu of custody (Penal Code section 2900.5). In order to encourage this type of result, it is extremely important for the attorney and client to discuss early on the merits of seeking treatment.
In most cases, the sooner a treatment program is started, the sooner a client can develop a positive “track record” that can be shared, via a written report from the provider, with the prosecutor and court. An offender’s documented sincerity, suitability and amenability to treatment can be crucial to getting the prosecutor’s agreement that treatment can be done in lieu of jail or, even state prison. Moreover, in straight drug possession cases, successful completion of a drug program can lead to a dismissal of the charges (even if the accused has prior drug convictions)! There are many different types of treatment facilities, serving many different needs. It is extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar not only with these different facilities, but who is also familiar with the substance abuse evaluators/specialists, who assist with referring and securing a clients’ placement into an appropriate facility.