Convictions for a drug crime can lead to serious penalties as well as significant changes to your everyday living. On top of the potential for long-term imprisonment and hefty fines, if you are a prospective student, note that felony drug charges may even result in student financial aid ineligibility.
However, New York does have alternative sentencing when it comes to nonviolent crimes. Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) provides programs for nonviolent offenders—like those convicted for drug possession—which helps offenders receive necessary treatments if the court believes the offender struggles with substance abuse. Qualifying offenders must be at least sixteen years or older and have clear indicators as to the extent of their substance abuse.
Additional alternative sentences may include:
- Community service: A non-violent offender may receive a sentence of community service as a means of payment for their criminal actions if the court deems it a necessary and fair alternative.
- Restitution: Like a fine, restitution is a payment that you make. Though, the payment will go to the victim of the crime rather than to a court.
- Suspended Sentence: A judge may issue a suspended sentence if they believe there is a reason it. Often, they will suspend sentencing while the defendant attends a program related to their crime – such as drug treatment programs.
- Pretrial Diversion or Deferred Adjudication: In some cases, you may have your charges dismissed if they meet certain conditions. These conditions may include counseling or probation and require that you stay out of trouble.
Depending on the gravity of the drug offense, your very future may be in jeopardy and alternative sentencing is no guarantee. Eligibility for alternative sentencing will vary on a case-by-case basis and depend on both your attorney’s strategy for your situation and the court’s digression.