The judicial system is designed to dispose of legal issues between parties, whether in civil or criminal court. Things like car wrecks and divorces are heard by civil judges, whereas people who have been arrested and charged with a crime will appear in criminal court. But even this system has its limitations, and there exists a subset of case types that require specialized tribunals. A good example is juvenile court, which is a system of jurisprudence that deals only with underage defendants. Another type of matter where a specialized court can be helpful is drug court. This type of court handles drug-related matters, which can often be lost in the shuffle of a criminal justice system that deals with more serious matters, such as murder or embezzlement. The need for a court system of this type was first recognized in the State of Florida, when drug courts were implemented in Miami-Dade County in 1989. Since that time, many defendants have had their cases heard in drug court, and if you are facing a drug-related crime you might consider this option, but will first need to learn if you qualify.
There are several criteria to qualify for drug court. To qualify for drug court in Florida, you will need to take a look at the following two programs:
● The Felony Pre-Trial Intervention Program is available to first time offenders with substance abuse problems, charged with a certain type of drug crime. Admittance to this drug court program is voluntary.
● The Misdemeanor Pre-Trial Substance Abuse Education and Treatment Intervention Program is available to those who do not have prior felonies and who have not been in a program previously. Admittance to this program is also voluntary.
The goal of drug court programs is to address specific problems, related to drug use and/or abuse. The thought is many of these defendants would benefit more from a program that addresses the underlying problem, rather than imposing a harsh punishment that lacks educational and rehabilitative aspects. The hope is that with the proper education and rehab, repeat offenses are avoided. Reduction in the crime rate is always a positive, and when possible it is best to allow a person to learn from their mistakes rather than spend their time in a jail cell where nothing is learned.
Drug court is not an easy process, and it has strict requirements, such as weekly urinalyses, weekly meetings, and monthly court hearings. The big benefit, however, is that, at the end of the program, the charges are dismissed. Therefore, admission into drug court can be a good option for many defendants.
For help with drug charges, and to learn whether you are eligible for drug court, contact our office today. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.