People often think of Washington as a state with liberal drug policies. Legalization of certain previously banned drugs does mean that some people who may have run afoul of the law no longer have to worry about the police arresting them.

However, people do still get arrested and charged with drug-related offenses. Those struggling with addiction may also face criminal charges not directly related to drugs, such as shoplifting or other theft charges. When you know that your substance abuse disorder directly contributed to an incident that led to charges, you may realize that you need to address your substance abuse if you want to avoid future criminal issues.

Those with a substance abuse issue who face non-violent felony charges could potentially attend drug court. Seeking adjudication in the Washington adult drug treatment courts could benefit you for numerous different reasons.

1. You connect with proper rehabilitation support

It is easy to say you want to end the cycle of substance abuse, but it takes a lot of work and often professional help to actually do so. When you attend drug court proceedings, you will benefit from a very structured system intended to connect you with the right resources. From one-on-one meetings with specialists to accountability generated through randomized drug testing, there are many ways in which the Washington drug courts help facilitate someone’s sobriety.

2. You avoid criminal penalties

Frequent meetings and regular drug testing may seem like punishments, but they are a far cry from the criminal penalties handed down in the traditional courts. You can avoid incarceration, large fines and other criminal consequences if you successfully complete all of the requirements set by the judge in your drug court case.

3. You can avoid a criminal record

Even if it is a first charge that likely won’t lead to a lengthy jail sentence, pleading guilty to any criminal charges against you can mean a permanent criminal record. Landlords, colleges and employers will all likely see the charge on your record if you plead guilty. You can avoid that automatic social stigma by going through the drug courts and thereby eliminating the risk of a criminal record.

Looking at all of your options, including drug court proceedings, will help you better handle your pending Washington drug charges.