If you have been charged with a drug crime, you may be surprised to hear that there is a way to get out of hefty fines and jail time. While drug court is sometimes considered a program for younger offenders, the state of Missouri offers an adult drug diversion program for older residents who do not qualify for the juvenile program. If you qualify, you may be able to avoid the life-altering punishments that typically await those accused of drug crimes.
Do you qualify?
The St. Louis County Adult Drug Court states that there are a few qualifications you have to meet to be a candidate for the diversion program. Offenders must be over the age of seventeen and must also complete the following:
- Waive the preliminary hearing.
- Plead guilty to the felony.
- Commit to participate in the program for at least fifteen months.
Violators must also be first-time offenders who have a problem with substance abuse and have not been charged with violent crimes.
What does the program involve?
To avoid spending time in prison, participants must commit to fulfilling the requirements set forth by drug court judges. These often include frequent drug testing to ensure abstinence and regular visits to your residence to evaluate the home environment. Those involved will also need to periodically appear before a judge in court as well as meet with probation officers and other providers to discuss their progress. All participants will need to receive substance abuse treatment and will likely be referred to other resources in the community to encourage recovery.
Participants will also be required to perform community service as determined by the judge and other officers involved. Additionally, fees for the treatment programs and court will be assessed and payment will be required to continue.
Why choose drug court?
While the requirements and costs may sound overwhelming to some offenders, the benefits can far outweigh traditional punishments for drug crimes. Jail time can be avoided and fines reduced. While there are many steps that need to be followed to successfully complete the program, those who do may have all criminal charges dismissed and their guilty plea withdrawn. Probation for the crime can also be ended earlier than planned.
If you have been convicted of a drug crime, an experienced attorney can help you seek placement in a drug diversion program as opposed to traditional incarceration and fines. Contact a lawyer today to have an experienced advocate fight for your rights.