If you, or a loved one, are under arrest for a drug offense, you may be wondering what your options are. Previously, those facing drug-related charges could expect fines, jail time or both, depending on the severity of the offense.
However, Florida has changed legislation to allow non-violent drug offenders the chance to make a new start. Drug court programs offer various services to help those who want to become drug free and change their past behaviors.
Drug Court Program details
According to Court News Florida, those who enter into a Drug Court Program can expect an organized and structured program supervised by the courts. The determination of eligibility depends on the drug court in each county.
Each program lasts, usually, up to 18 months, and there is an expectation that participants complete the program. Those that do not are in violation, and they may face arrest or other sanctions from the judge. Programs include:
- Random drug screenings
- Peer support meetings
- Substance abuse treatment
- Regular court appearances
- Counseling for substance abuse
There are numerous drug treatment programs available, such as for veterans, juveniles, adults and individuals with mental health issues.
Benefits of drug courts
The Florida Courts discuss that Florida started the first drug court in 1989, and studies show that they have numerous benefits for both the drug offender and the public. Generally, it is more cost-effective for defendants to go through a Drug Court Program than other criminal justice approaches.
Drug courts reduce crime and make communities safer. Drug Court Program participants benefit in that they have long-term recovery, are often able to reunite with their families and break the cycle of crime. For most participants who complete the program successfully, a judge may also dismiss the related drug charges.