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Is There an Alternative to Prison for Drug-Related Crimes?


Sometimes, a substance use disorder is brought to the attention of an afflicted person and their loved ones when they commit a drug-related crime. What is an alternative to prison time for cases like this? If this sounds like a situation you’re facing, it might benefit you to look for addiction recovery legal aid services that will help you avoid prison time. As prison populations across the country keep increasing, courts and lawmakers have become more open to incarceration alternatives. As long as a drug-related case doesn’t involve mandatory sentences required by law, judges have the discretion to use these alternatives.

If you’re looking for addiction recovery legal aid services in Austin, TX, contact Harmony Haus today. Our team can walk you through alternative to prison options and help you determine which one is best for you. Call Harmony Haus at 877.349.1544 or reach out to our team online for more information about an alternative to prison.

What Are Prison Sentence Alternatives for Drug-Related Crimes?

In negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor in a drug-related criminal case, a defense attorney can try to secure an agreement that includes prison sentence alternatives, especially in cases involving less serious crimes that don’t involve violence.

If a defendant was convicted at trial, their attorney can attempt to reach a drug-related sentencing agreement with the prosecutor or appeal to the judge to use incarceration alternatives. These alternatives to prison time can include:

  • Community service
  • Fines
  • House arrest
  • Inpatient rehabilitation
  • Inpatient psychiatric treatment
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Work release

Many courts will allow defendants with addiction or other mental health problems to serve a portion or all of their prison sentences in treatment programs. The programs most likely to be approved by a court or prosecutor as a sentencing alternative are long-term or residential.

These treatment programs vary from halfway houses to intensive inpatient treatment programs. Participants are usually required to live onsite, go to counseling sessions, and look for employment or enroll in school if permitted to leave the facility. As with probation, defendants must stay in these programs and comply with requirements.

If a defendant leaves their treatment program or does not comply with its conditions, the judge can revoke the alternative sentence and send the defendant to prison.

What Is a Sober Living Home?

Sometimes called a halfway house, a sober living home typically operates as a bridge between an inpatient facility and the real world. In terms of alternatives to prison, a sober living home can provide a structured environment where a defendant can participate in a treatment program safely and securely.

For many people in addiction recovery, moving into a sober living home after formal treatment makes the difference between going back to their old addictive habits or continuing on the path of sobriety. For people that have committed drug-related crimes, moving into a sober living home is typically a welcome alternative to going to prison, and it’s a lot like house arrest. Not only will they receive treatment for their addiction, but they will also avoid experiencing the hardships of prison time.

However, it’s important to point out that sober living homes for people in addiction recovery may not be the ideal sober living homes for people that have committed drug-related crimes. The needs of these members are different, and sober living homes are most effective when their conditions, rules, and structured schedules consider the needs of their potential residents.

When Should Members Use Legal Aid Services?

Legal issues can accompany the misery of addiction. In cases like this where drug-related sentencing is imminent, and the defendant wants to explore alternatives to prison time, they should seek addiction recovery legal aid services as soon as they can.

Harmony Haus offers addiction recovery legal aid services to support potential members who need help when navigating the legal process associated with substance use disorder-related issues.

Explore Legal Aid Services at Harmony Haus Today

Are you searching for legal aid services for drug-related crimes in Austin, TX? Contact Harmony Haus Sober Living today by calling 877.349.1544 or reaching out to our team online to learn more about drug sentencing and prison sentence alternatives.