Over the last 25 years, state legislation has been increasing legal measures to address the ongoing war on drugs. Both Federal law and State statutes require a minimum mandatory sentence for high level drug crime charges. Drug crimes are usually considered serious felonies and the government does not hesitate to convict drug offenders. This is to keep drug crime off the streets and keep offenders in prison.
However, Florida’s Judicial Circuit offers drug offenders the opportunity to avoid prosecution and seek treatment. The Drug Court Program is a treatment program for individuals who have substance abuse problems. This redirects them from prosecution, avoiding jail time and possibly keeping a felony conviction off their record as well.
So, How Do You Get In?
Drug Courts operate by county. If you are considering enrolling in your local Drug Court program, consult a criminal defense attorney in Miami to evaluate your eligibility. As simple as it sounds, getting into the Drug Court Program isn’t exactly easy. And it is not only difficult to enter, some face complications while they are completing the program.
Enrolling in the Drug Court Program means you will be under the supervision of the judge presiding over your case. If you are successfully enrolled, you will be committing a year to rehabilitation under treatment specialists. If you successfully complete the program, your treatment counselor will recommend that the judge discharge the case.
The State Attorney reviews the eligibility of each candidate. This involves investigating any history of violent crime and drug distribution. If discovered with any form of severe criminal activity, your application will most likely be denied. Defendants who have more than two previous non-drug felony convictions are normally ineligible to enroll.
Therefore, it helps to have proper legal counsel to guide you through the process. You and your criminal defense lawyer in Miami can strengthen your eligibility for enrollment. However, keep in mind that enrolling in the Drug Court Program involves several commitments and procedures. Discuss your options thoroughly with your criminal defense attorney before proceeding.
What Should I Do To Get In?
The Drug Court process begins with a plea agreement. The plea agreement details how much time you could spend in jail or prison if you fail to successfully complete the program. Your initial plea agreement might even have terms that are substantially more severe if it did not involve enrollment into the Drug Court Program.
In entering a plea agreement, you will want a Miami criminal lawyer to address your demands with the prosecutor. Drug possession crimes are more attractive in being eligible for the program. Drug trafficking crimes are almost always declined. However, ever difficult the conditions are, the program is considered a favorable alternative to jail time or felony conviction.
Things you Should Remember
Keep in mind that the Drug Court is an arduous program. It requires numerous early-morning visits to court. Participants are subject to frequent random drug tests. They must participate in many hours of group counseling that resembles classroom work.
They must attend 12 Step recovery program meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Counselors report to the Court the participant’s progress. Most drug court programs don’t last more than a year. Testing positive in drug tests after being absorbed in the program can also result in severe sentences.
However, the program allows the offender an opportunity to recover and leverage against a conviction. Maybe even a shot at a new life. If you or a loved one have recently been charged with drug crimes, consider enrolling in your local Drug Court Program. Consult our Miami criminal law firm today to find out if you are eligible to participate.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
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