How does the drug court program work in Georgia?

Pleading guilty to a criminal charge is not often an ideal step for defendants to take. However, for some individuals in Georgia facing drug charges, pleading guilty could have some advantages. If the accused meets certain standards set by the program, a drug diversion or drug treatment program could be implemented instead of the defendant facing penalties such as prison time and hefty fine.

In Gwinnett County, defendants facing drug charges could go through drug court, which is a four-phase intervention program. In order to go through this program, though, defendants must be adults that have pled guilty to a non-violent drug offense. Additionally, it must be apparent that the individual has had difficulty staying clean and sober.

This program is a collaborative effort among the Superior Court, District Attorney's Office, defense attorneys, local law enforcement, probation offices and drug treatment programs. Those within the program are supported and helped in order to maintain a drug free life. The Drug Court awards participants incentives if they show compliant behavior. However, if they show undesirable behaviors, the Drug court will impose sanctions.

If it is determined that a participant is not complying with the rules of the program, he or she could be placed in short-term custody, moved back to the previous phase of drug court or endure a variety of sanctions. Additionally, he or she could have their participation in the drug court terminated.

The goal of drug court is to help deter defendants from committing drug crimes in the future. By providing them access the resources and help they require to overcome their drug problems, the Drug Court seeks to reduce future drug crimes and the penalties faced by offenders. Thus, those facing drug crime should understand what rights they have and if the drug court program is right for them.

Source: Gwinnettcourts.com, "Treatment Court" accessed Oct. 8, 2017

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