Many people who are convicted of drug crimes are suffering from serious substance abuse issues. Sending these offenders to prison or jail is not nearly as effective as treating the underlying substance abuse problem. Fortunately, certain non-violent drug offenders in Missouri are given the opportunity to avoid incarceration by participating in a specialized drug court program. Here’s how drug courts work:
Who is Admitted Into the Drug Court Program?
A defendant cannot enter the drug court program unless a prosecutor has referred him. The defendant will then enter a screening process to determine eligibility. This program is only available to adults with substance abuse problems that are facing non-violent felony charges.
What Should Defendants Expect During the Drug Court Program?
Defendants who are accepted must comply with a number of rules while in the drug court program. Throughout the program, participants must undergo substance abuse treatment and counseling. Participants are also expected to comply with random drug test requests and maintain employment or stay in school. In addition, they are required to make frequent court appearances to update the judge on their progress in the program.
Each defendant is closely supervised throughout the course of the program. This ensures that each defendant is getting the individualized help he needs to overcome his substance abuse issues and meet his personal goals.
How Long is the Program?
The drug court program consists of different phases. Defendants must complete all requirements in one phase prior to moving onto the next, so the exact length of time that it takes to make it through the program varies on a case-by-case basis. However, the law states that defendants must stay in the program for at least one year and complete it within two years.
What Happens After the Program is Completed?
If a defendant makes it through the drug court program, the criminal charges that were filed against him will be dismissed. This means the defendant will get to move forward in his life without a criminal conviction on his record. But, if the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the program, the judge can terminate his enrollment and impose other legal penalties.
Drug court has been extremely successful in reducing crime and helping offenders beat their addictions. In fact, it has been reported that drug courts are more effective in reducing crime than jail, prison, probation, and other sentencing options.
Are you facing criminal charges? If you are also struggling with substance abuse issues, the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can help. We will work tirelessly to convince the court to enroll you in the drug court program instead of sentencing you to time behind bars. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.