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Recovery Courts In Bergen County: An Alternative To Jail?


If you are facing minor drug possession charges, courts in New Jersey see this as a “crime of addiction.” Although the so-called War on Drugs once promoted a zero-tolerance approach to possession, courts are now more lenient toward genuine addicts. As a somewhat progressive state, New Jersey recognizes that this is a mental health issue rather than a criminal issue. These factors may allow you to go to rehab instead of jail. What do you need to know about recovery courts when facing possession charges in Bergen County?

What Are Recovery Courts in New Jersey? 

While many jurisdictions use the term “drug courts,” New Jersey refers to them as “recovery courts.” This name reflects the fact that not all addiction-related crimes are caused by drugs. Some are related to alcohol, for example. According to the New Jersey Courts, recovery courts give defendants “the help they need to break their addictions.” Recovery courts offer addicts a number of services, including:

  • Treatment
  • Guidance
  • Counseling
  • Supervision

New Jersey states that those who emerge from recovery courts are less likely to commit future crimes. This is an important distinction. Across the United States, drug courts recognize that incarceration promotes “vicious cycles” in which addicts repeatedly commit offenses. The goal is to encourage sobriety, continued education, reliable employment, family ties, and general involvement in society.

How Do Recovery Courts Work in New Jersey? 

If you are referred to recovery courts, you may go through rehab instead of serving time behind bars. This is a type of “supervised probation program.” You must plead guilty if you want to go through this rehabilitation process. Criminal courts in New Jersey can use their own discretion to determine whether this type of program fits your specific needs.

Only certain candidates are eligible for recovery courts in New Jersey. Generally speaking, this sentencing alternative is reserved for non-violent offenders. In addition, you must be struggling with a documented “substance abuse disorder.” Finally, only adults are eligible for recovery court.

Because of the substance abuse disorder requirement, you will need to get a clinical assessment. This should not be overly difficult.

The most important thing to remember is the price of failure. If you relapse or fail to take your rehabilitation seriously, you could find yourself back in court. You will no longer be eligible for recovery court, and you will face incarceration instead. Remember, rehabilitation is not easy – and many graduates say it is even more challenging than jail.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Drug Possession Lawyer in Bergen County 

Drug possession charges in Bergen County may seem daunting, but there is always hope. Recovery courts represent just one potential option you can discuss during your first consultation with New Jersey drug possession lawyer Phillip J. Murphy. With our help, you can fight for your rights and get the treatment you need. Reach out today to get started with a defense strategy tailored toward your specific needs.




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Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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