Drug court is a voluntary diversion and treatment program that allows eligible participants to avoid adjudication for drug charges, receive treatment for substance abuse problems, and become a productive member of society armed with the tools and knowledge necessary to remain drug free. All drug court treatment programs typically have the same three overarching goals: reduced recidivism rates, reduced substance use in participants, and rehabilitation of participants. Regarding the efficacy and necessity of drug court programs, President Bill Clinton stated that, “Three quarters of the growth in the number of federal prison inmates is due to drug crimes. Building new prisons will only go so far. Drug courts and mandatory testing and treatment are effective. I have seen drug courts work. I know they… make a difference.”
Since its inception in 1989 in Miami-Dade County, the drug court program has continued to expand and now includes 2600 drug court programs located throughout the nation. Drug court treatment programs currently exist or are being planned in all 50 states (47 percent of all U.S. counties have a drug court program) as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. More than half of the existing drug courts are dedicated to adult offenders with the remainder of drug court programs dedicated to more specific target populations such as juveniles, DUI offenders, child welfare cases involving parental substance abuse, veterans, and tribal members.
Regardless of location or target population, most drug court programs follow the same comprehensive drug court model which includes: offender assessment, judicial interaction, monitoring (e.g. drug testing) and supervision, graduated sanctions and incentives, and treatment services. Most drug court programs also follow state statutory guidelines. Additionally, each individual drug court program may set its own specific requirements and guidelines.
For more information about drug court programs in your state or county, click here to view the National Drug Court Resource Center’s State Drug Court Map and then select your state from the map and follow the provided link.
If you have been charged with a drug offense in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, or Palm Beach County, it is strongly suggested that you hire an experienced and aggressive South Florida criminal defense lawyer familiar with Florida drug laws and diversionary programs such as the drug court program. The lawyers at the South Florida criminal defense law firm Galanter Law know Florida drug laws backwards and forwards and have substantial experience representing individuals convicted of drug offenses and navigating Florida’s Drug Court system