Almost everyone knows someone whose life has been touched or changed forever by drugs or alcohol. But I've never met anyone whose ambition in life was to become a drug addict or alcoholic. Addiction is an illness. Illnesses should be treated through the public health system, not punished through the criminal justice system. For those who charged with a crime as a result of addiction Ohio law provides possible alternatives to conviction and jail time.
In Cincinnati, Hamilton County, some defendants may qualify for Drug Court, while others may qualify for a process called Intervention In Lieu of Conviction. For other defendants, diversion may be available. While all are different, the goal is the same, address the underlying addiction driving the criminal conduct.
Once a person successfully completes one of the these alternative programs, typically the case is dismissed with the records sealed or the arrest and conviction expunged. For clients with professional licenses successfully completing one of these alternatives can be the difference between losing or keeping their licence, and thus their livelihood. Successful completion also allows for collateral consequences such as drivers license suspension to also be avoided.
While not everyone qualifies for one of these alternatives, many do. We explore all possible options for every client in order to get the best result possible. We do our best to humanize the client by showing the court the client is no different than anyone else with an illness. An illness which is very treatable. Some may argue addicts have a choice. These people don't understand addiction. These statements make as much sense as saying someone chooses to get cancer.