What Is a Drug Court?

Drug courts are specific court docket programs that target criminal defendants along with offenders, juvenile offenders and parents who are currently in pending child welfare cases that have alcohol and other drug dependency issues. According to the National Institute of Justice, since June of 2014, the estimated number of drug courts operating within the US is over 3,400. More than half of these courts target adults, people who may have DWIs, veterans, juveniles, child welfare and other types of cases. In other words, many courts exist to address the problems that people have with cocaine abuse.

Although eligibility for drug court varies from state to state, many courts do not consider violent offenders in their dockets for drug court. Drug courts for adult criminals typically consider both drug and drug-driven offenses; however, if a victim is involved many times, then the court will seek consent of the victim, and financial restitution is typically mandatory. In other words, you have to qualify for a drug court rather than jail, but such courts can help you turn your life around from drug abuse.

What Is Drug Court?

According to the National Associate of Drug Court Professionals, after rigorous testing and research conducted by the scientific community, drug courts work better than jail and prison, better than probation and treatment alone, and they significantly reduce drug use and crime. Additionally, drug courts are more affordable than any other criminal justice strategy. The following details pertain to drug courts and what they entail:

  • Intensive treatment is provided in addition to other services that are required for people to maintain sobriety
  • Accountability by the judge helps people meet obligations to court, society, themselves and their loved ones
  • Regular and random tests for drugs
  • Frequent appearances in court so the judge can review her progress
  • Rewards for doing well or sanctions for failing to maintain obligations

The Bureau of Justice Assistance states that drug courts are “a specially designed criminal court calendar or docket, the purposes of which are to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent substance abusing offenders and increase the offenders’ likelihood of successful habilitation. Interventions include early, continuous and intensive judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and the use of appropriate sanctions, incentives and habilitation services.” In other words, these courts exist to give non-violent drug criminals a way to get and stay clean.

Drug courts give addicts every resource and opportunity to help them succeed in a treatment plan. The individuals who seek drug court are often either given a lesser offense, or, if they complete the required treatment, then they may be able to avoid being charged with the crime in the first place. Although each court is structured similarly when compared to another, each judge can add or remove specific instructions and/or requirements depending upon the individual, her past, the charges that she faces and her willingness to seek and ask for help.

For some people, drug courts are the best solution to help them get clean and maintain sobriety, because they have the added pressure to continue to making healthy choices. Other people may have needed support from loved ones to achieve sobriety, so, by having so a drug court involved in their recovery, they may feel enough support to accomplish their goals and to take treatment seriously.

Other people may see drug court as an opportunity simply to avoid adding to their criminal history. These individuals are more likely faced with jail time, costly court fines and being unable to enjoy even the simplest freedoms while in jail. By accepting treatment through drug court, addicts are able to avoid persecution temporarily if they follow the guidelines. These individuals may not be ready to seek treatment and may feel forced to do so, which leaves them at risk for relapse once they have completed the treatment. In other words, drug courts are not for everyone, and judges can hand down hefty punishments to people who fail to appreciate their need for recovery.

Although some people may see drug courts as salvation, others may despise the requirements they must meet to avoid criminal charges, but these issues could plague them for the rest of their lives. The strict guidelines are put in place to keep recovering addicts on course for success—if they go off the path toward recovery, they may face jail time or even harsher charges than what they originally faced. The consequences for failing to meet the guidelines and requirements depend upon the judge and situation.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction and faces a court order to seek treatment, then please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to help you find the best treatment available. One call can save an individual’s life, so call now for instant, professional support.

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