Our circuit court, like many others around the state, operates a drug court program. UVPD has an attorney assigned to drug court to help answer questions and to represent people who enter the program. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the program.
Q) What is drug court?
A) Drug court is a Court supervised intensive drug treatment program.
Q) What are the benefits of drug court?
You will be given immediate, low-cost intensive drug treatment and the charges against you will be dismissed upon graduation.
Q) What are the drawbacks of drug court?
You give up the right to a jury trial by entering drug court. You give up the right to challenge the evidence against you. And if you don’t complete the program successfully, you will have a conviction on your record.
Q) How long does it last?
The program can be completed in 1 year, but the average person takes 18 months.
Q) Do I have to plead guilty to enter?
Q) Will I have a lawyer?
Yes. You will have the opportunity to meet with a public defender from our office to review your case before you decide to enter the drug court program. The public defender will represent you at all court appearances.
Q) Will I be on probation?
Not when you enter, but you will be placed on probation if you violate Drug Court’s rules and are found guilty at a stipulated facts trial.
Q) I don’t live in Douglas County. Can I still do Drug Court?
Maybe. Many other counties have drug court programs. If you live elsewhere, you’ll be required to submit a petition here, and then transfer to your home county, assuming they have a comparable program that is able to accept you.
Q) What is a stipulated facts trial?
A trial by a judge (not a jury), where the judge simply reads the police reports and any other evidence offered against you and makes a ruling on whether the state has proved its case.
Q) What are sanctions?
The court can impose obligations it feels are necessary for your recovery. Those obligations can range from jail, work crew, to increased treatment contact.
Q) How much time does it take?
It will vary depending on what phase of the program you are in. When you start in phase 1, you will be attending court at least one morning a week, ADAPT four times a week, plus support meetings such as NA or AA multiple times each week.
Q) Can I have a job during drug court?
Yes, but you must schedule your work around your drug court obligations and at the early stages, when establishing sobriety is important, it may be very difficult to have a job.
Q) How often must I give a UA?
UAs are random. You will be required to call a number each morning before 11 am to learn if you must give a urine sample that day. If you fail to show for a UA or having a dilute UA, Drug Court will assume you’ve used.
Q) Can I be on medication while in drug court?
It depends on the medication. Drug court is an abstinence-based program. You cannot be on suboxone, methadone, marijuana , any narcotic or benzodiazepine, prescribed or not. All medications must be approved by the team. If you see a doctor you are required to inform that doctor that you are in recovery.
Q) What does it cost?
There is no cost to submit a petition to enter drug court. If you are accepted into drug court the cost is $500 and must be paid before graduating.
Q) How do I enter drug court?
You will need to submit a petition that is drafted by the public defender. The court will then give you two weeks to meet with the attorney. You will then return to court and either be accepted into drug court or decline. If you decline drug court, you will be interviewed for a court appointed lawyer.
Q) What’s the key to completing drug court successfully?
You must be honest with the court, your treatment counselor and yourself.