La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.
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How drug court works in Florida

When someone commits a drug offense due to addiction, sending him or her to jail punishes the crime but may not do much to prevent further violations. Based on this understanding, many states, including Florida, have established drug courts that offer treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence for some types of drug offenders.

If you face drug charges in Florida, you may be wondering whether drug court would offer a good option for you. Your attorney can explain eligibility requirements and advise you as to whether such a program would benefit you.

Who is eligible for drug court

Generally, drug courts in Florida counties accept offenders with a history of addiction. Typically, the offense must relate to possession rather than trafficking. Programs may exclude offenders with a history of violent crime. You may be eligible for a program even if this is not your first offense.

During the eligibility assessment process, you may need to undergo evaluation to determine whether drug addiction is really the main problem you face and whether you are likely to comply with the program.

How programs work

While a drug court treatment program may be preferable to a stay in prison, it is no walk in the park. Treatment programs have strict requirements. You can expect frequent drug testing, attending counseling sessions and having to come to court for check-ins. Missing appointments or other types of noncompliance can get you dismissed from the program and back into criminal court.

Drug courts and your criminal case

After completing drug court, the judge will typically dismiss the criminal case against you. A court will not force you into a drug court program; you will choose whether or not you want to apply. Consult your attorney before doing so.

Is drug court right for you?

If your attorney thinks you have a strong defense available, you may fare better by proceeding in criminal court. Ultimately, after your lawyer explains the advantages and disadvantages of all options, it is up to you to make the decision.

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