Drug Court is designed for adult defendants whose criminal behavior is driven, at least in part, by drug abuse or addiction.
The program focuses on individuals whose current or past convictions do not include firearms, violence (death or serious bodily injury), the manufacture or distribution of controlled substances, or sexual abuse.
The goal of Drug Court is to reduce drug-related crime and recidivism by providing treatment and rehabilitation to nonviolent defendants. The program accomplishes this goal by increasing awareness of drug abuse/addiction, promoting the ability of participants to live drug-free, and providing access to community resources to support positive lifestyle changes.
Unlike some specialty courts, Drug Court completion does not usually result in dismissal of charges. Instead, defendants plead guilty and sign a plea petition that allows them to enter Drug Court. Because entry is negotiated as part of a plea offer, Drug Court participation usually results in a significantly reduced sentence and possible avoidance of prison altogether.
Drug Court involves four distinct phases with specific goals:
- Relapse Prevention
- Community Transition
Participants make regularly scheduled court appearances, engage in drug treatment and rehabilitation, provide frequent drug testing samples, and work closely with a probation officer who monitors program compliance and provides progress reports to the court.
To graduate from the program, defendants must establish a consistent pattern of the following:
- Clean drug tests
- Employment or enrollment in vocational or educational programs
- Clean and sober housing
- Other proof of a stabilized lifestyle