Etowah County Drug Court
Gadsden Drug Court Attorneys representing clients in Gadsden, Attalla, Southside, Rainbow City, Hokes Bluff, Glencoe and other areas of Etowah, Blount, Cherokee, Dekalb, Calhoun and St. Clair Counties
Drug Courts are an alternative to the traditional criminal prosecution in a criminal court. Drug Court involves intensive treatment and drug education as an alternative to jail time, and is used to assist defendants in coping with their drug use, abuse and addiction. The goal of drug court is to keep the defendant as a contributing member of society rather than simply incarcerating the defendant and making them a burden on society due to the cost of incarceration. Drug Court in Etowah County requires you to sign up for random drug screenings with Community Corrections or CRO depending on your initial assessment. These screenings could be as often as three times a week or none in a week. They are completely random. Drug court also requires that you complete classes such as AA or NA.
You will be paying community corrections or CRO each month for your monitoring. In addition, before your case is dismissed, you will have to pay court costs on each case and also restitution to the DA’s office and the Etowah County drug task force.
If you attend and successfully complete a drug court program you will be able to preserve your freedom by staying out of jail, you will be drug-free, and your charges will be dismissed upon successful completion. Therefore, you will not have a criminal conviction on your record. In addition, because your charges are dismissed, after it. If time, you may apply for an expungement of the entire criminal record of your arrest and the criminal charges.
Make no mistake about it, drug court can be hard work. It is not an easy program, and requires serious effort on your part. You will be required to appear in court on a frequent basis for monitoring. You will also be required to take periodic drug tests. This will require you to report for drug test on a random basis, and often to call the drug court daily to determine whether you need to test on any particular day. You will be required to comply with the treatment program that the drug court supervisor designs for you. You’ll have to follow their directions in every way, and attended successfully any drug education are other classes required. More than anything, you will be required to remain drug-free. In addition you cannot pick up any new charges whatsoever. If you fail to comply with the drug court rules you could face a sanction. Sanctions can include termination from the drug court program, imposition of short jail stays, or incarceration for longer periods. In addition you could be required to undergo inpatient treatment for your drug problem if you fail to respond to more conservative methods of treatment.
The Etowah County District Attorney determines whether the individual will be allowed to attend the program. The criteria that determines eligibility for attendance in a drug court is determined on a countywide basis. Individuals who are charged with a first time offense for the possession of an illegal substance or drug paraphernalia are often eligible to attend drug court. Often, individuals who have prior convictions for any crimes involving violence are not eligible to attend drug court. Individuals who are approved to attend drug court often enter a plea agreement into a response to a charge that states an individual will go to prison if the individual fails to successfully complete the program. Alabama law also requires that an individual who attends drug court remain employed or attends school throughout participation in drug court.
Rather than be placed in prison, Drug Court offers individuals the opportunity to engage in intensive treatment and drug education. Drug Court requires that individuals appear in court on a frequent basis in order to be monitored in addition to successfully attending any required drug education classes. Individuals are also required to be drug tested on a random basis. These programs often last between six to eighteen months dependent upon a variety of factors including the severity of the charge. Many of these programs implement various drug testing cycles that occur with greater stretches of time between testing periods. Completion of the drug court program often requires that individual produce clean drug tests for a period of time and remain involved in positive community activities.
If you choose not to do drug court, then later we could possibly have an opportunity for you to enter the pretrial intervention program. This program is similar to drug court but is done strictly through community corrections or CRO and the Circuit Court. You would still have random drug screens with community corrections but would not likely have to do the AA meetings or other classes. This program is more costly up front as you must pay $900 to the DA’s office. In addition, you will have a monitoring fee of $70 per month.
Your other options are trial and/or plea to a felony. However, you would have a felony on your record which has plenty of adverse consequences.
Upon successful completion of Drug Court, an individual's charges will be dismissed and the individual's record will contain no charges for the offense. After a period of time, individuals can also apply for the expungement of the record regarding the offense. Failure to complete the drug court program can result in an individual facing termination from the program or time in prison.
Etowah County’s drug court had 67% success rate in 2016.
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