Individuals facing drug charges may be able to avoid harsher penalties, such as jail time, if they are eligible for drug court. If a participant completes the program, the judge may even dismiss the original charges.
The court supervises the drug court program, which consists of a variety of components. This program is beneficial for taxpayers, the community, drug defendants and their families.
Drug court eligibility
According to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, defendants eligible for drug court are those facing drug purchasing or possession charges who have a non-violent record. Individuals facing charges for drug trafficking or sale are generally not eligible. Nor are those with at least three felony non-drug convictions. For qualification, the State Attorney must also agree not to pursue formal prosecution.
Components of drug court
The Florida Courts state that drug court takes a non-adversarial approach and that participants can expect various components, such as:
- Regular court interaction
- Random alcohol and drug testing
- Drug education
- Substance abuse treatment services
- Support groups
The court expects participants to engage in all components of, and complete, the program. Those that do not will face the criminal court process, which could result in jail time.
Benefits of drug court
For participants of drug court programs, one of the benefits is that they receive treatment and break the addiction cycle. As a result, many of them reunite with family members. They also become more productive in the community.
Community members benefit, as research shows that these programs reduce crime. Drug court programs also save money compared to what it costs an individual to spend time in prison.