Drug Court Programs

For those arrested for Possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Cannabis, and other Controlled Substance offenses, criminal attorney John Guidry may negotiate a sentencing option that does not involve a felony conviction on your record.  One such program is called a Drug Court Program.  Some programs dismiss all charges once completed, other programs require the accused to enter a probationary term via a plea agreement, but the probation term will terminate once the program is completed.  No matter what the program, it's usually a preferable option to jail and the mandatory two year DL suspension that comes with a conviction on any drug offense!

Drug Court Programs are hard work, typically more difficult than a standard probation sentence with drug conditions.  An average probation sentence will require random drug testing and a 12 week drug program, but drug court programs demand much more.   Here's the procedure for a typical drug court program.

First, it all begins with an assessment.  The program wants to make sure that you actually have a drug problem.  Once the level of your problem is determined, the program may conduct a background check, because some programs do not allow participants to have a prior violent felony offense.  The next step is the actual treatment. 

Orange County's Drug Court program, for example, has three "Phases" of treatment.  Phase 1 last for a minimum of 60 days, and requires three group meetings per week, 6 individual counseling sessions during Phase 1, a meeting with the Judge every two weeks, and random urinalysis.  To enter Phase 2, you must complete all the above, plus be substance free for 30 consecutive days.

Phase 2 also lasts a minimum of 60 days, but only requires two group meetins per week, one individual counseling session per week, two self-help meetings per week, a meeting with the Judge every two weeks, random urinalysis, and again, you must be substance free for 30 consecutive days to enter Phase 3.

Phase 3 will last a minimum of 45 days, and only requires 1 group session per week, 1 individual counseling session per week, 3 approved self-help meetings per week, random urinalysis, and a meeting with the Judge once a month.  Exiting Phase 3 also requires 30 consecutive days substance free. 

Finally, there's "aftercare".  Aftercare usually requires 1 group session per week, random urinalysis, a monthly meeting with the Judge, and 30 consecutive days substance free to be eligible for program completion.

Wow, that's alot of work!  Also, let's not forget about some other details, such as program costs as high as $900.00,  no alcohol whatsoever during the program, and of course there's the punishment....Testing positive for an illegal drug or alcohol gives the Judge the authority to impose various forms of drug court punishment.  First positive test, a 'sentence' of 8 -16 hours community service is imposed.  Second positive test, more community service.  Third positive test, jail!  How much jail?  Depends, maybe 3 days jail to start, but more jail upon more positive tests.  Remember that a missed random urinalysis counts as a positive test.

Mr. Guidry has had numerous clients enter the drug court program, and the feedback so far has been very positive.  It's possible that the drug court programs may be one of the few programs in the criminal justice system actually doing some good out there!

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