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Drug court in New Hampshire: An alternative to incarceration

Statistics show that drug crimes account for the most jailed offenders in New Hampshire. Whatever the alleged reason for a drug arrest, defendants should take the matter very seriously. One immediate thing they can do that is likely to help them long-term is contact an experienced legal advocate.

When we look at the numbers, it isn't hard to understand why all across the country prosecutors are developing options that can serve two purposes: lessen the number of incarcerated drug offenders and more importantly, rehabilitate them and reduce recidivism. Strafford County has for several years handled these crimes in what is known as a drug court. This is a specialty court that has gained momentum as a means for non-violent drug crimes defendants to integrate into a system of substance abuse treatment under strict court supervision in exchange for suspension of criminal charges.

Both felony and misdemeanor crimes can qualify for this approach. The aim is to deal with the addiction that likely precipitated the criminal behavior. The 12-month program, which is divided into three phases based on case management, is followed by a year of probation. As the offender progresses through the program, incentives encourage him or her along. On the other hand, if there are any infractions, sanctions apply. In some cases, criminal proceedings may be reinstituted.

Options such as these are proving to be successful all across the country. They aren't a given for most defendants however. A review of all the circumstances of the alleged crime, evidence, arrest procedures and personal needs of the defendant from a criminal defense perspective is still a sound basis for determining what options are best for the accused.

Source: New Hampsire Judicial Courts, "Drug and Mental Health Courts" Nov. 13, 2014

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