Drug courts are courts dedicated specifically for working with individuals who have been accused of a crime and are also drug abusers. Drug courts merge required substance abuse management and court ordered supervision to address the combination of drug abuse and criminal activity. A successful alternative to traditional court, the drug court program is available to help people resolve their problems and move forward in their lives. This is an option for some defendants who have substance abuse problems and are willing to work to resolve them.

Treatment Based Courts

Drug courts are treatment based. This means that the courts will recognize the need for substance abuse treatment as part of the completion of the program. Initial screening for possible participation in drug court is done as part of the initial booking process after arrest. Defendants are provided with the instructions for the program and must agree to abide by them to complete the necessary steps in order to be accepted to the program. Typical programs will require participation for a specific length of time, often at least a year. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the charges will be dropped and the case closed.

How do Drug Courts Work?

Participants in drug court are required to be in the program for a minimum of one year but may remain in the program for a longer period of time.  Treatment plans are tailored to fit the specific needs of the defendant. Some of the highlights of the program include:

  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Regular drug testing
  • Court progress sessions
  • Participation is voluntary

Drug court is a viable solution for those who are ready to take action to resolve their addiction or drug problem. The program can be very successful if participants are willing to participate fully. If the defendant does not complete their program or drops out, the original charges will be reinstated and the case will proceed through the traditional court system.

Who Can Participate in Drug Court?

Eligibility for drug court is governed by Florida Statute 948.06(6)(a). The program is designed for defendants who are charged with possession or purchase of drugs. Only offenders who have been designated by the State’s Attorney can participate in the program. If you have a history of more than two drug sale or trafficking convictions or felony convictions will typically not be accepted to the program. In general, acceptance to the program is limited to those with the highest likelihood of completion. If you have been arrested for a drug crime speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It may be possible for you to be accepted to the drug court program. Your lawyer will review your situation and help determine the best way to proceed in your case.