Sometimes, people find themselves facing criminal charges not because of malintent, but due to substance abuse struggles. In such cases, the traditional criminal penalties of jail time and fines do not always best serve those charged or the communities. Instead, people charged with drug crimes may consider the state’s drug court program as an alternative path that allows them the opportunity to overcome their addictions.
Before seeking entry or agreeing to participate in the drug court, it behooves people facing drug charges to understand what it may entail.
Getting into the program
Eligibility for the drug court program depends on several factors. According to state law, for entrance to the drug court program, people must face qualifying drug offenses. Further, they cannot have a criminal history of other specified offenses, including murder, sexual assault or armed robbery.
Participating in drug court
According to the Kane County Drug Rehabilitation Court, those facing drug violations who seek to participate in the program must follow the rules and meet the necessary benchmarks. This includes attending scheduled mental health and drug treatment appointments, abstaining from drug use and going to court hearings.
Graduating from drug court
To advance to the graduation phase, participants must meet the prior phase requirements. Typically, they must have stayed sober for at least 12 months, have no pending charges and have a plan to show how they intend to stay sober moving forward. Violating the rules of the program or failing to meet the standards will often result in unsuccessful discharge or termination from drug court.
Drug charges, and the resulting consequences, may profoundly affect people’s lives. Therefore, those struggling with substance abuse may find it helpful to consider their options, including working with an attorney to participate in the drug court program.