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Can participating in drug court help keep you out of prison?

In many cases, Florida residents who face drug-related criminal charges probably would not have found themselves in their current situations had they not had drug habits they needed to support. Often, drug addiction and criminal activity go hand in hand. If you struggle with an addiction that makes you behave in ways you otherwise would not, drug court may give you your best chance at success.

Whether drug court is an available option for you ultimately depends on several factors, such as whether your criminal act was a violent one and whether you have an existing criminal past. However, you may, depending on circumstances, be able to enroll in drug court while effectively keeping yourself out of jail.

How drug courts work

According to the National Institute of Justice, drug courts benefit addicts and their communities in several key ways. While each program differs to some extent due to geographic and other factors, most counties operate their drug court programs in similar manners. Typically, once you gain entry into a drug court program, you will have to make regular appearances in the court while simultaneously agreeing to undergo substance abuse treatment or counseling. You can also plan on having to take and pass regular drug tests to remain compliant with the program.

Benefits of drug court

Statistically speaking, you are notably less likely to re-enter the criminal justice system within two years of your initial crime if you enroll in and complete drug court. A study of a drug court program in one county found that felony offenders were 28% less likely to re-enter the justice system within a two-year follow-up period than they were before drug court became an option in the county. A separate county also experienced a similar decline, with the felony re-arrest rate within the two-year follow-up period in that county falling from 50% to 35%.

If you are fearful about potentially having to serve time in jail or prison for a drug crime, find out whether you may be able to instead gain entry into drug court.

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