What is a Drug Court, and How Does it Work in Your State?

In Texas, defendants accused of nonviolent drug offenses can participate in drug court, including court-ordered treatment for substance use disorder, as part of a pretrial diversion program or as a condition of their probation.

The word “corrections” in the context of the criminal justice system is often just a euphemism for punishment. The consequences of a criminal conviction are much more likely to make someone’s life worse than better in the long term; if this were not the case, then people would not spend their money on criminal defense lawyers when they could just have a lawyer from the Public Defender’s office represent them at no cost to them. In the case of drug court, though, the court makes an effort to help defendants in nonviolent drug cases achieve and maintain sobriety, instead of just making their lives harder than they already are. The Austin drug crimes defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller can help you enter a drug court program and complete it successfully if you are facing charges for drug possession or a similar offense.

Drug Court in Travis County

The drug court in Travis County has been continuously operating for more than 20 years, making it one of the oldest drug programs in the country. Today, most of the densely populated counties in Texas have their own drug court programs. Drug court involves the following elements:

  • Participation in substance abuse treatment, usually on an outpatient basis
  • Frequent drug testing, usually urinalysis
  • Weekly meetings with community supervision officers

Drug court programs are highly effective at helping participants stay away from drugs. In Travis County, only three percent of defendants who complete drug court get a new drug-related arrest in the three years after their participation in drug court, compared to 26% of defendants convicted of drug possession who do not participate in drug court.

The courts of Travis County often order drug court participation as a condition of probation for defendants convicted of drug possession, whether the conviction arises from a trial or a guilty plea. If you plead guilty to drug possession, and the court sentences you to probation and orders you to participate in drug court, you have avoided the worst-case scenario; your chances of staying sober are much better than if the court had simply ordered you to meet with a probation officer and undergo drug testing.

Even better than going to drug court after a conviction is participating in pretrial diversion through the drug court program. If you go to drug court before entering a plea, and you complete the yearlong treatment program successfully, the court will drop your charges. In other words, drug court can make your charges go away. It is much easier to get into a pretrial diversion program if you have hired a lawyer to represent you.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer in Austin TX Can Help You Stay Sober

A criminal defense lawyer can help you access treatment instead of punishment if your criminal case is a symptom of your drug addiction. Contact Granger and Mueller in Austin, Texas, or call (512) 474-9999.