Are you facing drug or alcohol-related (non-driving) charges in Tampa,
or anywhere else in Hillsborough County? If so, you may be nervous about
the future, and reasonably so. It’s no secret that Florida is known
for imposing some of the harshest sentences and penalties on convicted
individuals in the nation, and the last thing you want is to have these
penalties thrust upon you.
In the face of drug or alcohol-related charges, is there anything that
you can do? Depending on the facts of your case, your criminal history,
and the nature of your charges, you
may qualify for the ADDE program.
What is the ADDE program and what can it do? The ADDE program was specifically
created to help those who have been arrested for a drug or alcohol-related
offense (non-driving). The purpose of the ADDE program is to increase
a defendant’s awareness about substance abuse by educating them
on the short and long-term effects of using drugs and alcohol.
The ADDE program uses an educational approach to increase participants’
awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The goal of the
program is to help participants understand the impact of their decisions,
while taking responsibility for them.
Qualifying for the ADDE Program
If you are facing
drug or alcohol charges in Hillsborough County, you may qualify for the ADDE
program. Is this program required by the courts? No, it is not. In fact,
the ADDE program is a voluntary pretrial program that is available to
certain criminal defendants who:
- Are at least 16 years of age,
- Are facing misdemeanor charges,
- Have been arrested for a drug violation, or
- Have been arrested for a non-driving alcohol offense.
According to the
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is
characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”
The NIH says that addiction is a “brain disease” because of
the way that drugs change a person’s brain.
When drugs change a person’s brain chemistry, they can be long-lasting
and can cause the drug user to engage in harmful behaviors, says the NIH.
When someone first takes drugs, they perceive positive effects and they
believe they are “under control.” The problem is that over
time the drug becomes less pleasurable and the person needs to continue
taking the drug so they can feel “normal.”
At this point, the individual needs to take the drug more frequently and
in higher doses, which are the telltale signs of
addiction. Often, substance abuse problems and addiction lead to criminal behaviors, such as
theft, driving under the influence (DUI),
drug possession, drug sales, prostitution, and
Why participate in the ADDE program?
Criminal defendants who are eligible can participate in the ADDE program,
which focuses on early intervention and education. The program takes from
90 to 120 days and once it is successfully completed, the criminal charges
are usually reduced or dismissed altogether.
Are you, or someone you love facing drug or alcohol charges in Hillsborough
County? If so, we highly recommend taking a look at all of your options,
including the ADDE program. For new drug offenders, another option is
Hillsborough County’s drug court for first-time offenders.
Even if you are facing felony drug charges, as long as this is your first
offense, you may be able to avoid a felony conviction if you qualify for
and complete the program, which is offered by the Adult Drug Pretrial
If you are facing drug or alcohol-related charges, we invite you to
contact our Tampa criminal defense firm to explore the possible defense strategies
as well as other alternatives to sentencing.