Pros and Cons of Orlando Drug Court Programs

The United States criminal justice system does not always serve justice fairly. Indeed, while many reforms are needed, the courts do recognize that the perpetrators of alcohol and drug crimes often suffer from addiction. To avoid punishing those who need treatment, a defendant for a drug offense in Orlando may be eligible to attend Drug Court. Attending Drug Court can bring several advantages, including avoiding the cost of a trial, not going to jail, and receiving beneficial counseling and education. Although it is a successful program, not all are welcome.

Who Can Benefit from Drug Court in Orlando?

Drug Court is a pretrial intervention program that seeks to divert offenders who would benefit from medical and psychological treatment. These programs help to ease prison overcrowding and reduce recidivism. Florida Statute §948.08 outlines who may be eligible to enroll in drug court programs. Requirements vary widely as drug courts operate at the county and circuit level throughout the state. In Orlando, the State Attorney’s Office decides which cases may be referred to Drug Court. Offenders must prove that they have a substance abuse problem.

Pros and Cons of Drug Court

Drug Court in Orlando is a voluntary program for offenders charged with misdemeanor or third-degree felony drug offenses. The defendant must be a first-time offender to participate. Drug Court is an intensive program that requires significant effort on the defendant’s part to complete. These efforts should be taken into serious consideration before deciding whether you may benefit from Drug Court. Some of the downsides of Drug Court include:

  • Several early-morning court appearances
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Regular drug tests
  • Progress reported to courts by counselors
  • Punishment is possible should you stray from the program
  • Must plead guilty before entering the program

An offender’s desire to stay out of jail may not overpower his desire to continue to use drugs. Those who continue using drugs during Drug Court will be ejected from the program and will face the original sentence that they agreed to when they made a plea agreement before starting the program.

Benefits of drug court programs await those who are ready to commit to coming clean. Drug Court can keep nonviolent offenders out of jail and help prepare them to reenter society as a productive individual. Those who complete drug court have their charges dropped. It may be possible to also have the initial arrest expunged from their criminal record in order to completely clear the record. Ultimately, Drug Court may be a boon to those who are ready to lead a life free from drugs and crime.

Discuss the possibility of eligibility with our Orlando drug defense attorneys by calling (407) 228-3838 or emailing us about your case.