Drug Court or Drug Diversion Programs in Philadelphia, Delaware County & Chester County
Individuals in Philadelphia, Delaware County or Chester County who’re facing drug possession or drug dealing charges may consider drug court or diversion programs. These programs are essentially drug treatment programs overseen by courts. A person enters the program by submitting an application, pleading no contest and agreeing to all conditions of the program. Upon completion of the program, the charges are dismissed. Cases may later be expunged.
Drug Court Eligibility
Each county has their own eligibility requirements. However, these drug court programs usually apply to first time offenders charged with drug possession or drug dealing. In some cases, second time offenders may be allowed. Prior or current charges for violent crimes or crimes involving guns (VUFA) will usually disqualify you from the programs.
Drug Court Program Conditions or Requirements in Phila., Delco, Chesco
While every county has different requirements for their drug court programs, the conditions are pretty strict and often include:
- mandatory meetings with a case worker or probation officer,
- mandatory drug tests,
- mandatory drug court appearances,
- attend drug or alcohol counseling/support groups,
- obtain employment/go to school, and
- pay all fines and costs associated with the program.
Failure to follow the conditions often result in certain sanctions like jail time or court attendance. Continued violations will result in being removed from the program, at which time the case will proceed through the normal court process.
In addition, individuals who enter drug court lose certain rights. Because the participant is effectively on probation, the probation officer can search the individual’s person, property and home. In addition, home visits may be required as part of the program.
Time or Length of Drug Court Programs
Drug court programs usually last about 2 years or more. In Philadelphia, the length is 12 months. In Delaware County, the length of the program is 30 months, and in Chester County, it’s 12-24 months. In some cases, a person’s participation may be extended due to violation of a term/condition.
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Is Drug Court Right for You?
Wanting to get treatment and having a support system are two of the most critical factors that lead to successful completion of a drug treatment program in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, some folks simply aren’t ready for drug court or for other reasons may not do well in a very strict, heavily supervised treatment program.
Because of the length of the treatment programs and the odds of failing or getting kicked out, an individual considering a drug treatment program should speak to a criminal lawyer about their case BEFORE making a decision. The case could be dismissed due to mistakes made by police during search, seizure or arrest. Visit our law library for more info on search and seizure law in criminal cases.