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What is drug court, and how does it work?

When faced with a drug charge, not knowing what is going to happen to you can be pretty frightening. For minor drug crimes, common penalties that accompany conviction include jail time and fines. However, the state of Texas understands that sometimes a different approach to dealing with the problem is necessary. This is where drug court comes into play.

Drug court is basically a court-supervised drug rehabilitation program. It is primarily meant for first time, non-violent offenders. In order for a judge to consider you for this program, you must make a formal request for entry must be made in court.

How it works

If your request receives approval, authorities will move your case from the criminal court system to the drug diversion program. A Chemical Dependency Counselor will immediately be assigned to handle your case. This person will have the responsibility of overseeing your progress.

The drug diversion generally takes 12 months to complete. During that time, you will need to make court appearances. These may be weekly, twice a month or once monthly. It all depends on what the court and your counselor feel you need.

Along with court appearances, attending treatment is a must. The Texas drug diversion program requires that you take part in three different treatment interventions. These are:

  • Primary treatment
  • Supportive treatment
  • Aftercare

Participants progress through these three treatment programs by making and completing goals.

Getting out

Graduation from the drug diversion program occurs once all three intervention programs have been completely successfully and you no longer use drugs or alcohol. Before you can graduate, however, passing an exit interview is a must. You will do this with your counselor 30 days before your anticipated graduation date. After this interview, a final court appearance is necessary in order to achieve completion approval and criminal case dismissal.

Getting through the state's drug diversion program seems simple enough, but as with any rehabilitation program it may have its difficulties. Not finishing does have its consequences. If you do not complete the program, you face having your case returned to criminal court for prosecution.

Drug court is not for everyone. However, if you and your legal counsel believe it is a good fit for you, and you meet all the legal qualifications for it, it may be a path worth pursuing.

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