Drug Charge? Potentially Avoid Jail Time
According to statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, nearly 100,000 individuals are arrested for drug-related offenses on an annual basis in Florida. Florida’s criminal justice system has been increasingly lenient on drug and alcohol offenders. The state justice system is beginning to recognize that many drug and alcohol related offenses stem from addiction and disease. Thus, the Florida judicial system offers “drug court” as means by which offenders can avoid jail time and receive treatment for their addiction. If an individual successfully completes the requirements of drug court, they may be able to keep a felony conviction off their record. The best way to pursue the drug court alternative as opposed to the normal Florida judicial process is to work with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will work with the judge and the prosecutor to get you the help you need.
What is Drug Court?
Participants in drug court will be actively monitored by a judge and individuals in the program must attend regularly scheduled hearings. Failure to comply with the rules imposed by the drug court can result in numerous sanctions. In Fort Lauderdale, the drug court that oversees offenders is the Broward County Drug Court Treatment Division. The program is broken down into three phases and tailors treatments programs specifically to each offender. First-time offenders who participate in the program must successfully complete 12 months of treatment before their case can be considered for dismissal. The following are the three phases of the program:
- Phase 1: The focus of this phase is education and recovery. During phase one, the individuals in the program must attend weekly education classes and submit to regular urine tests for the first 30 days. Additional meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous meetings are also available.
- Phase 2: During this phase, individuals will attend counseling twice a week for at least five months. This helps individuals to identify the deep-rooted reasons behind their drug use. The phase also focuses on preparing the participant to make better choices in the future.
- Phase 3: Participants will attend weekly group counseling sessions for four months and work with their group to continue the progress on the recovery. Participants push each other to grow and succeed.
In drug court, the judge will explain the specifics of the program to participants. There the framework and expectations will be laid out. In the event that a defendant does not want to participate in the program they have the option to opt-out and take their case to the criminal court.
Contact Us for Professional Help
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense it is important to understand that help is available. An experienced criminal defense attorney can work with you and your family to get you placed in a treatment program. Fort Lauderdale attorney Deric Zacca understands your situation and is prepared to effectively advocate on your behalf. However, time is not on your side, you must act quickly to get the court to approve a drug treatment program. If you are in need of assistance, call us today at 954-379-2238 to schedule a consultation.