The drug court program essentially focuses on treatment instead of incarceration. Certain people who have been accused of drug crimes -- typically non-violent ones -- are eligible, though regulations vary from state to state. The court recognizes that many drug users only break the law because they're addicted, and it puts them in a treatment plan to hold them accountable and help them get clean.

If you've been arrested, the advantages are clear: You may get to avoid jail time and get help with the fundamental issue that led to the arrest. But what are some of the advantages to the state and the legal system? Why do they turn to drug courts?

Saving Money

First off, there can be serious monetary savings. Some programs only last for a year -- that's often the minimum. Still, providing treatment and monitoring for a year is cheaper than paying to keep someone incarcerated for years on end.

Crime Is Reduced

The crime, in most of these cases, is simply possession of drugs for personal use. Locking someone up does prevent use for a time, but getting treatment can help prevent drug use indefinitely. In this way, these programs do cut back on crime and take the strain off of law enforcement.

It's About More Than Crime

Proponents of the drug court system point out that these efforts can literally be life-saving. They can also restore a person's quality of life and help them move in a positive direction, rather than just sending that person to jail. Moreover, many who are jailed leave loved ones behind, and so this process can help to keep those families together. That's a positive outcome for all involved.

Are You Eligible?

Not everyone is elegible for these programs, but it's very important for you to find out if you are when facing drug charges. You always want to know about all possible legal tools at your disposal.