City Attorney's Office Announces Second Equity-Based Change to its Prosecution Practices

20 Jan 2021

The Vancouver City Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce another equity-based change to its prosecution practices aimed at assisting those suffering from substance abuse disorders.

The City Attorney’s Office has long been a participant in the Clark County Substance Abuse Court. This program provides intensive supervision to individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses who have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. However, historically, participation in the program has required individuals first plead guilty to the underlying charged offense.

With the new equity-based changed, the Substance Abuse Court has transitioned to a pre-plea model. In qualifying cases, individuals who successfully complete the year-long treatment program can have their misdemeanor cases dismissed without having to plead guilty to a criminal offense. Participants will be able to avoid the barriers that a criminal conviction can pose for individuals seeking housing, employment and other opportunities for advancement.

This is the second equity-based change in prosecution practices announced recently by the City Attorney’s Office. The first is a pilot project changing the way the city prosecutes the crime of driving while license suspended in the third degree (learn more).

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