Addiction is a major problem in Wisconsin. In fact, nearly everybody knows someone for whom habitual substance abuse has caused significant problems. You may even know somebody who has ended up on the wrong side of the law due to an inability to fight this pernicious disease alone.
The courts do not automatically pull addicts arrested for substance crimes or OWI away from their families, careers and friends. There could be opportunities for those suffering from the debilitating illness of drug or alcohol addiction to recover, reintegrate and manage their conditions — with the help of the court system.
Get the facts
Before you or your loved ones make any final decisions regarding an arrest, be sure you know everything about both your situation and the justice system regarding substance crimes in Wisconsin. There could be another option.
Think about drug court
One of the most important things that you may not know is that many Wisconsin counties have specialized courts for substance-related offenses. Dane County, for example, has an adult drug court, a veterans’ treatment court and a court specifically for OWI. All neighboring counties also have specialized venues for such cases.
Drug courts are not a replacement for the traditional justice system. Legislators did not design them to help repeat offenders or violent criminals get free of charges. You could view them more as a chance for addicts to reintegrate back into society, backed by institutional support.
Understand the commitment
These treatment courts are relatively new. The Milwaukee branch launched in 2008. As a result, there could be certain aspects of the program that you may find confusing or unfamiliar. You or your loved one would have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the program. However, statistics suggest that successfully completing the treatment course results in lower rates of reoffending.
Addiction is not a crime. It is a nearly indomitable force that leads good people to act in a manner that could potentially land them on the wrong side of the law. Drug courts help bring addicts back into society and may help improve their relationships with friends and family.