A key component of all drug court programs across the nation is regular drug testing of program participants. Each drug court program sets their individual program guidelines for frequency of drug testing, method of drug testing, and the types of drugs screened for in the drug tests. Such decisions are often based on the financial capacity of the program, logistical considerations, drug use demographics of the community, and participants’ specific drug or drugs of choice.
According to surveys administered by Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE) (a six-year national evaluation program funded by the National Institute of Justice that looked at the impact of adult drug courts), almost all drug courts that responded to the surveys reported using a urine test to screen program participants for drug use. A small number of responding drug courts also reported using a sweat-patch, saliva, and hair samples to collect drug test samples.
According to MADCE, the vast majoring of responding drug courts reported testing for marijuana, crack/cocaine, heroin, opiates (e.g. Vicodin, Oxycontin), alcohol, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Valium). A small number of responding drug courts also reported testing for stimulants (e.g. Adderall, speed), PCP, phencyclidine (LSD), and other drugs. Drug tests administered by drug court programs also typically test for creatine levels to determine whether a participant’s urine sample has been diluted or substituted for another substance such as water.
A positive drug test may result in sanctions such as stricter treatment requirements, additional time in the drug court program, more frequent drug tests, or dismissal from the drug court program altogether. When a drug court participant is kicked out of drug court, his or her case will usually be sent back to the court’s regular felony trial decision and will be set for trial. Moreover, the defendant will most likely never be able to participate in a diversionary drug court program again.
If you have been charged with violating the terms of a South Florida drug court program by testing positive for drugs or another infraction, you need the advice and counsel of an experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer who has represented many individuals facing these same charges. Yale Galanter and his team of Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers have significant experience helping clients charged with drug offenses including drug court violations and will provide the aggressive and skilled legal representation necessary to potentially eliminate or reduce your charges and keep you in good standing with your drug court program, where possible.