Although the attitudes of some people about drugs have changed in recent years, there is still a lot of social stigma associated with drug use. When people know that an individual is a drug user, they will treat that person differently than others.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one stupid mistake to end up with a permanent criminal record marking you as a drug user. Once the police arrest you on suspicion of a drug offense, you are at risk of having a criminal record that could limit your options for the rest of your life.

You may not even be a habitual drug user when you get arrested because of something in your vehicle. However, landlords, institutions of higher education and employers performing background checks will all likely worry that you have a substance abuse disorder if you have a drug conviction on your record. How can those facing drug charges in New Jersey avoid a permanent criminal record?

Go through the recovery courts

Some people’s instinctive response to a drug charge is to plead guilty. They feel like there is evidence that they will not be able to challenge or overcome in the criminal courts, so there is no point in mounting a defense.

If you believe that the state has a strong case against you, it may be worth considering the recovery courts. Adjudication in the recovery courts won’t result in criminal penalties. Instead, the focus is on treatment.

The adult treatment courts can order rehabilitation services and perform routine, random drug screening to help encourage sobriety. Provided that the individual facing charges complete all of the requirements set by the recovery courts, they can avoid a criminal conviction and the record that they would otherwise have.

They can fight back in criminal court

Even when the state does have evidence, criminal defendants still have options. You could challenge how they collected the evidence or bring in an expert witness to show that the analysis of the evidence is questionable. Providing an alibi or an alternate explanation for behavior can also be a way to avoid a conviction when facing criminal charges.

You can review the evidence against you to determine which defense strategy might work in your case. Fighting back against New Jersey drug charges can help you move on with your life without a permanent record that limits your opportunities.