When South Dakota authorities catch you possessing, selling or planning to sell drugs within state lines, you can anticipate some pretty hefty consequences. If you are like many other drug offenders, you may wind up spending time behind bars. If you meet certain requirements, though, you may be able to avoid some traditional criminal penalties that typically come with South Dakota drug convictions by enrolling in one of the state’s drug courts.
In addition to helping you potentially avoid other criminal penalties, such as time behind bars, South Dakota’s drug courts can essentially force you to take a good, hard look at your life and what prompted your criminal behavior. Drug courts have strict compliance requirements that typically include undergoing regular drug testing and counseling. For many offenders, this forced accountability gives them the structure they need to kick their habits.
Determining South Dakota drug court eligibility
South Dakota’s drug court system tends to prioritize high-risk offenders who are unlikely to stay out of the justice system or prison if not admitted. You must also meet certain eligibility requirements to potentially gain entry into a state drug court program.
For example, you will not be able to enroll in drug court if you are a registered sex offender, and you will also not be able to do so if you have any history of being a violent criminal offender. You will also need to pass a legal screening before you can enter a state drug court program. If you have a high number of drunk driving convictions on your criminal record, this may exclude you from drug court consideration. You also must demonstrate that you live close enough to the location of the drug court to make regular appearances and have administrators closely supervise you throughout the program’s duration.
Meeting the above criteria does not necessarily guarantee your ability to enter drug court. However, if you are ultimately able to gain entry into a South Dakota drug court, it can do more than just keep you out of jail – it just may help you turn your life around.