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Drug courts in Florida: a second chance for addicts

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Blog, Drug Crimes

The traditional idea of what happens when someone gets arrested for a drug crime is:

  • Arrest
  • Charge
  • Court date
  • Possible conviction
  • Punishment

While this process still exists, in some cases, authorities offer people charged with drug crimes the opportunity to attend drug court instead of going to jail.

What are drug courts?

Drug courts help people who suffer from drug addiction. Courts understand that addiction is a significant nationwide problem and that science has proven that many factors can lead to addiction and that rehabilitation is often possible.

Some people who are charged with drug-related crimes can take part in Florida’s special court programs, known as drug courts.

Drug courts typically restrict participation to a certain type of drug-related crime and do not include certain serious crimes.

The purpose of drug courts

Drug courts exist to stop the cycle of drug use and crime. Drug addiction can lead individuals to commit crimes in order to support their habit, resulting in their imprisonment.

Courts understand this vicious cycle and want to help by offering alternative solutions to certain individuals who want to face and fight their addictions, which is difficult, and go through a rehabilitation process instead of going to jail.

The idea is to address the root cause of the problem, hoping it will lower crime rates and help individuals who suffer from addiction break free from their struggle and have a second chance at life.

What are drug courts like?

People often wonder what happens in drug courts. Individuals who are lucky enough to have this opportunity to receive a variety of services tailored to their specific needs.

For example, besides the expected elements of supervision and drug testing, individuals have an opportunity to:

  • Attend therapy
  • Be part of a support group
  • Get treatment for substance abuse
  • Receive medical care
  • Enter a recovery community
  • Do community service
  • Find a job

During these programs, which typically last between 1 and 2 years, individuals must have regular check-ins with the judge, and they will order that the person be tested and held accountable to make sure they are staying clean and out of trouble.

The process is not nearly as easy as it sounds. While it is not jail, addressing substance abuse can be incredibly difficult, and it takes tremendous courage, willpower, and commitment to get through the program and meet all requirements for graduation.

What happens if a person fails drug court?

It depends on the type of offense or how they “failed” drug court. If they missed a court date, the consequences may differ from if they relapsed and went on a week-long drug binge.

The judge will consider the circumstances of the events that took place and decide whether the person can remain in drug court or if they should be punished in some other way.

Can anyone go to drug court?

No, not everyone is eligible for drug court, and not all charges are eligible. However, if you qualify, it can be a powerful way to address the underlying issues that led you to become an addict and change your life for the better.

If you think drug court sounds like something you or someone you know might want to consider, speak with an attorney who understands criminal courts in Florida, including drug charges and crimes, so they can explain to you how the process works and if the person interested qualifies.

Addiction does not have to be the end

People who suffer from addiction are truly suffering, even if they do not know it. Committing crimes just to keep up with their addiction is not something anyone in their right mind wants to do. However, addiction can change a person and make them do things they would not normally do.

It is important to understand that help is available. You are always worthy of compassion and understanding, and if you qualify, Florida drug court may be the pathway to a second chance at life.