Are you eligible for an alternative sentencing program?

Many Florida drug defendants review the evidence that prosecutors have amassed against them and assume that their lives are over. This isn't necessarily the case though. You and your Tampa attorney may be able to work out a deal with the prosecutor or judge handling your case that will allow you to participate in an alternative sentencing program.

Many jurisdictions offer alternative sentencing programs as a way to make sure that defendants who are suffering from substance abuse addictions get the help that they need as opposed to locking them up in jail. Each jurisdiction may have its guidelines in place for who can participate in an alternative sentencing program such as a drug court.

Defendants generally must have no prior convictions on their record to qualify to participate in an alternative sentencing program. The drug crime that the individual has been convicted of must also be a nonviolent offense. Any defendant wishing to participate in such a program must also have completed a substance abuse evaluation and demonstrate that they're motivated to change.

Alternative sentencing programs such as drug courts have become increasingly popular among defendants, prosecutors and judges alike in recent years.

Defendants who try drugs and become addicted to them are given a second chance to get their lives back on track without having to face the long-term implications of having a conviction on their record. This allows them to not experience such significant gaps in employment due to incarceration and to better provide for their families.

These alternative sentencing programs free up court schedules for more serious, violent offenders' cases. This, in turn, saves taxpayers a significant expense that government officials would have to spend on trying these defendants and having to provide room and board while they're in jail.

A Florida defendant who's participating in an alternative sentencing program is bound to need to attend regular appointments with a probation officer, to undergo random drug testing or to take part in 12-step or group counseling sessions. If you're committed to making changes in your life, then an attorney can let you know if you may qualify to participate in an alternative sentencing program here in Tampa as well as of the benefits associated with you doing so.

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