There is a difference between being a criminal and struggling with an addiction. This is why the state of Florida introduced the concept of drug courts in the 1980’s. The court was created so nonviolent drug offenders could receive the treatment they needed, rather than be incarcerated. Today, drug courts exist all over the country as a way of allowing addicts to avoid prison time.

What’s The Difference?

Drug court is a special kind of court for only nonviolent drug offenders. Unlike “regular” court, you cannot be sentenced to prison, but will be forced to complete either a 18 to 24 month-long drug treatment plan. Those who participate in drug court are subject to random drug tests and must make court appearances every 30 to 45 days. According to the Substance Abuse Services law, §§ 397.334, there are ten key-components to the drug court:

  1. Drug court programs integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
  2. Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants’ due process rights.
  3. Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the drug court program.
  4. Drug court programs provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
  5. Abstinence is monitored by frequent testing for alcohol and other drugs.
  6. A coordinated strategy governs drug court program responses to participants’ compliance.
  7. Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court program participant is essential.
  8. Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge program effectiveness.
  9. Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective drug court program planning, implementation, and operations.
  10. Forging partnerships among drug court programs, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances drug court program effectiveness.

Who Qualifies?

There are several qualifications a person must meet to enter into drug court. To qualify, the defendant must be a first time offender of a non-violent crime, no more serious than a third degree felony. Additionally, the charge must be alcohol or drug related.

Why Drug Court Is Beneficial?

The obvious benefit of drug court is that a defendant is able to avoid jail time. However, the court exists as a rehabilitation program, leading to many positive impacts. Some of those include:

  • Reduced probation
  • Drug counseling
  • Avoiding prison time
  • Dismissal of charges

The bottom line is, those who complete drug court are able to get the help they need, and avoid prison. It gives people a second chance to live a healthy, substance free life.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug related offense, call the experienced attorneys at KLG, and find out if drug court is right for you. After all, no one should be punished for their addiction.