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How Can Addiction Influence Your Sentencing in New Jersey?

February 7, 2022 | Posted In Criminal Law |

As the epidemic of drug abuse, overdoses, and addiction continues to sweep across both New Jersey and the United States as a whole, the state’s law has continued to evolve over time to meet the needs of the population. Courts and judges are increasingly investing in drug courts and accepting the fact that addiction is a medical disease that must be treated. A diagnosis of addiction, as well as one’s efforts and successes in court-approved addiction treatment programs, can have a significant outcome on one’s criminal court case. Addicts facing criminal charges can benefit from alternative sentencing programs which can result in lessened or dropped convictions, such as the state’s conditional discharge program for those who meet qualification criteria.

The attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman have deep knowledge and familiarity regarding the profound impact of addiction on criminal defendants, and especially so for those facing charges for drug and intoxication-related crimes. Our New Jersey drug lawyer is on top of the latest developments in the law and is ready to advocate for defendants as they seek to confront and fight both their illness of addiction and their corresponding legal problems.

Addiction Treatment Can Complicate Child Custody and Abuse Cases

It may sound counterintuitive, but there is a possibility that seeking treatment for addiction could actually complicate, or even worsen, your outcome in child custody or child abuse matters. For example, a New Jersey mother who was enrolled in a methadone medication treatment program for opiate abuse was found guilty of child abuse when her child was born dependent on methadone and suffered adverse health effects as a result. A child abuse conviction due to addiction or addiction treatment could have severe implications for custody cases and also worsen prospects for the outcome of other criminal sentencings.

Consequences May Become More Severe in Drug Court

Defendants suffering from addiction can request for their case to be rerouted into New Jersey’s drug court system. While drug court often offers the opportunity to have charges expunged upon successful completion of the program, the drug court system can also bring about potentially disastrous sentencing outcomes for participants who are unable to successfully complete the program. If a participant is unsuccessful at drug court, the presiding judge has full discretion to impose the alternative sentence. This could result in an outcome far worse than if the defendant had originally gone through the criminal court system without drug court.

Evaluate Your Options with a New Jersey Drug Lawyer

Addiction is a terrible and debilitating disease, and there is no doubt that its effects can ripple into, and even cause, one’s legal problems. When facing legal matters as serious as criminal charges, it is important to know your rights and the possibilities of how your diagnosis of addiction can provide you relief and alternatives from traditional sentencing. 

If you have found yourself facing criminal charges that were influenced by your struggle with addiction, don't’ hesitate to reach out to a New Jersey drug lawyer at our law firm. Our lawyers have seen their clients through the most trying circumstances, and can help you address your legal issues in an informed and compassionate manner. Contact us now to set up a time and date to confidentially discuss your situation with one of our New Jersey drug attorneys.


Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending drug cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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