Alabama drug possession laws are strict, but the court has options for first offenses and minor charges, including probation. Under probation, you agree to follow specific terms for the length of the probation period instead of serving jail time. A judge can only offer probation to a defendant who is likely to make a sincere attempt to turn over a new leaf and stop using drugs, so judges are unhappy when someone violates the terms of the deal.
Drug-related probation may include the following:
- Regular appointments with a probation officer (PO)
- Attending a drug abuse program
- Community service
- No additional criminal offenses
- Random drug screening
Meeting your responsibilities under the probation agreement is your best chance to get the legal consequences of your arrest reduced. In some cases, we have been successful in getting the original charges dismissed when the probation is completed. If you violate your probation, your PO may hand your case back to a judge, who can reinstate your original prison sentence. However, under Alabama law, the court cannot revoke probation without a revocation hearing.
At this hearing, your PO presents evidence, for instance, a record of missed appointments or results from a failed drug test. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that lab results are not always accurate and there might be mitigating circumstances to explain other parole infractions. Even if it is clear that you have violated your probation terms, we can attempt to persuade the judge to extend your probation instead of requiring jail time.
Everyone deserves a second chance, but there can be several bumps along the path to turning a life around. At McPhillips, Shinbaum, LLP, we do our best to help clients get through the stressful period following a drug-related arrest so they can move forward towards a better future.