Los Angeles Drug Court: An Alternative to Prison

The reality is that many individuals in Los Angeles who are facing criminal charges are also dealing with drug addiction. An addiction can lead people down a path which ends up with them being placed in handcuffs for all types of criminal charges. Drug possession or drug sales charges are not the only charges where the root issue is a narcotics addiction. The sad reality is that California is experiencing the same crisis that is facing the rest of the United States. Crimes such as petty theft, identity theft, burglary, and a host of other crimes frequently trace back to a substance abuse issue. Defendants often are simply warehoused in jail or prison without any real focus being placed upon treatment. Fortunately for Los Angeles defendants, there is an alternative to a sentence of years in prison.

The Los Angeles drug court program is centered around a courtroom in downtown Los Angeles where Judge Michael Tynan is in charge of defendants who have been accepted into the program after an evaluation made by drug treatment professionals. The aim of the court is to provide structure to defendants who are actually looking to overcome their addictions. Often, the program serves as an alternative to a prison sentence. Defendants are required to admit charges against them and are placed on probation. The judge retains the ability to sentence a defendant to more custody time if they fail to adhere to the program.

The success of drug court centers around the collaboration between the court and rehabilitation programs. The initial phase of the program will occur while a defendant is in custody and they are housed in an area specifically devoted to enrollees of the program. The defendant will begin the process of addressing the root issues of their addiction. Once again, this requires a sincere desire from an individual to change their behavior. If the individual demonstrates sufficient progress while in custody, the next phase of treatment will occur outside of jail. Treatment professionals will decide the best possible program for a defendant. Some of these programs will be residential while others may be outpatient. But a defendant who has been in and out of custody will now have resources to help them maintain their sobriety once they are outside of jail.

Los Angeles drug court participants have a far lower rate of recidivism than defendants who do not participate in the program. I personally have seen clients who participate in the program and what a difference the program can make for people who are truly ready to make a change. As a Manhattan Beach criminal defense attorney, I unfortunately see the disastrous effects that addiction can have on individuals from all types of backgrounds. Please reach out to me if you are facing criminal charges and are also dealing with drug addiction. The first step is to acknowledge the issue and seek help.


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