What is Drug Court in Florida?

Have you recently been arrested in Orlando for drug possession or for buying and/or selling small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or another controlled substance? A drug defense attorney with The Umansky Law Firm may be capable of negotiating a sentencing option that does not result in jail time and may help you avoid a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record. One of the more successful alternatives is Drug Court. The program is available to nonviolent first-time drug offenders who struggle with drug addiction.

Instead of placing small-time offenders in jail, drug court aims to break the cycle of addiction and criminality. Drug offenders undergo rehabilitation with the goal of reintegrating into society addiction-free. These programs rely upon a variety of individualized treatment plans and are run by diverse teams of professionals, including judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, social workers, and treatment specialists to keep offenders on track.

Recent Case Result

Possession of Marijuana

Attorney Zahra Umansky represented a client charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams & possession of drug paraphernalia – both carry a potential maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, 1 year probation & $1000 fine. Attorney Umansky was able to negotiate a plea offer for her client that was for a fine and court costs only. Attorney Umansky was able to prevent her client from being convicted on the possession of cannabis charge which carries a two-year driver’s license suspension.

Advantages of Drug Court in Orange County

Drug court provides treatment rather than punishment to eligible drug offenders. Upon completing drug court, first-time drug offenders may receive clean records if they are eligible to have their records expunged. The value of erasing a criminal past is priceless. Many people do not realize how precious not having a criminal record can be until they wind up in the criminal justice system.

Additional advantages include:

  • Avoiding the cost and stress of a criminal trial
  • Waiving jail time and the mandatory two-year driver’s license suspension that follows a drug conviction
  • Receiving counseling, education, medical and psychological treatment
  • Reducing the chances that you will return to criminal activity
  • Eligibility to have your charges sealed

The next step to freedom is to seal the charges, which makes it impossible for those who run background checks to learn about them. Sealing criminal charges facilitates getting on with your life by making easier for you to apply for jobs and housing, purchase cars, receive loans, and more.

Am I Eligible for Drug Court?

In Orange County, Florida, there are two versions of drug court. One is for first-time offenders or those with a minor criminal history. The second helps offenders who have pleaded guilty or no contest to their drug offense. First-time offenders can get their drug charge dismissed and expunged, while those who enter drug court after they have pleaded to their offense can enroll to avoid going to jail or prison. Those who enter drug court after entering a plea cannot get their charge dismissed. If they have no prior convictions, they may be able to have their record sealed, although it is not likely.

Generally, those who face charges for nonviolent drug offenses may participate in drug court. The State Attorney’s Office analyzes each misdemeanor and felony case to determine eligibility.

  • First-time offenders (may not have a prior felony conviction)
  • Offenders who have committed a misdemeanor, second- or third-degree felony drug offense
  • Offenders with a substance abuse problem
  • Offenders who have not been charged with a violent crime
  • Offenders who voluntarily agree to enter the drug court program

Offenses that may be eligible for drug court may include:

  • Simple drug possession
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Purchase of drugs
  • Small sales of drugs
  • Drug-related property crimes
  • Violations of probation on the above crimes

How does Drug Court Work in Orlando?

Drug court begins with an assessment to confirm that the offender suffers from drug addiction. Treatment specialists will determine the extent of the drug problem before developing and implementing a treatment plan. There are three phases of drug court that you must complete over the course of twelve weeks.

Phase I:

  • Three group meetings a week
  • Six individual counseling sessions
  • One meeting with the judge every two weeks
  • Random urinalysis
  • Minimum of 60 days
  • Must be substance-free for 30 consecutive days to enter Phase II

Phase II:

  • Two group meetings a week
  • One individual counseling session a week
  • Two self-help meetings a week
  • One meeting with the judge every two weeks
  • Random urinalysis
  • Minimum of 60 days
  • Must be substance-free for 30 consecutive days to enter Phase III

Phase III:

  • One group session a week
  • One individual counseling session a week
  • Three self-help meetings a week
  • Random urinalysis
  • One monthly meeting with the judge
  • Minimum 45 days
  • Must be substance-free for 30 consecutive days

Aftercare:

  • One group session a week
  • Random urinalysis
  • One monthly meeting with the judge
  • Must be substance-free for 30 consecutive days to complete the program

You may not have alcohol during program, and if you test positive for an illegal drug or alcohol, the judge may impose drug court punishments. To learn more about drug court and determine whether you may be eligible, speak with our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers in Orlando. At The Umansky Law Firm, we have over 100 years of combined experience helping drug offenders get back on their feet. Call 407-228-3838 or email us a description of your case for a free case review.

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