Not all court systems are designed the same, and that’s especially true in Minnesota where we offer alternate forms of court called “treatment court.” Treatment court, as the name implies, is a system designed to help treat an offender from an affliction or substance abuse disorder that contributed to a crime. After all, the best way to prevent recidivism and keep the public safe is by treating the underlying issue that led the person to feel the need to commit the crime in the first place.
However, make no mistake about these treatment courts. They aren’t designed to provide an alternative to standard court and allow a suspect to get off with a slap on the wrist. The ultimate goal of treatment court is to keep the public safe, and for certain offenders, treating an underlying problem better achieves this goal than by simply locking the offender up for an extended period of time. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five types of treatment court offered in Minnesota.
Treatment Courts In Minnesota
Here’s a look at five different types of treatment courts in Minnesota and what they hope to achieve. Please note that you can’t just be transferred to treatment court because you want to be. You need to meet some guidelines specific to the court. Talk with your lawyer to see if treatment court is something that might be right for your case.
Juvenile Court – Juvenile court is for teens who have committed crimes in their youth. Instead of being charged as an adult and facing stiffer penalties, juvenile court aims to correct underlying behaviors so that these kids can grow into fully functioning adults, instead of spending their impressionable years behind bars. Depending on the crime, you may need to petition to have your case heard in juvenile court instead of in adult court.
DWI Court – DWI court is a special treatment court that helps individuals who have a troubling relationship with drugs or alcohol find a way to get clean so they aren’t tempted to use and then get behind the wheel. DWI court requires strict adherence to rules and regulations if you want to graduate from the program and avoid the traditional penalties for multiple DWI offenses.
Drug Court – Similar to DWI court, drug court works to help individuals who are plagued by addiction break free from the cycle of drugs. This program involves sobriety, treatment, drug testing, regular check ins with program overseers and clear and concise rules and penalties so that the individual knows what they need to do in order to complete the drug court program.
Veterans Treatment Court – As the name implies, this court is designed for veterans who are struggling with an aspect of life that is contributing to their criminal behavior. Whether it is drug or alcohol use, PTSD or another mental health issue, this court provides resources tailored to a veteran’s experiences and needs in order to help them treat the underlying issue and take positives steps in their life.
Family Dependency Court – Family dependency court is a place where families and victims of abuse and neglect can get the help they need. Oftentimes this is reserved for cases where parental substance abuse is leading to the neglect. It helps provide support and sobriety services to the parents while also working to provide stability for vulnerable family members.
To learn more about these courts, or to talk to a defense lawyer about your options, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today.