Hillsborough County's Drug Court for First-Time Offenders

Florida comes down hard on people who are convicted of drug crimes, and it’s no secret that Florida’s penalties are some of the toughest in the nation. If you were recently arrested on drug charges, and this is your first offense, there may be an alternative to getting a felony conviction on your record, and it is called Pretrial Intervention Drug Court.

The Adult Drug Pretrial Intervention Court gives first time offenders the opportunity to avoid being convicted of a felony – a huge bonus.

Once the defendant completes a background check, he or she signs a contract stating that they agree to complete a drug treatment program, and in exchange, the State Attorney’s Office agrees to drop the charges once the program is successfully completed.

What does it take to be eligible?

To be eligible for the program, a defendant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Not have a prior felony on their record.
  • Have not participated in the program before.
  • They waive their right to a speedy trial.
  • Admits to having a drug problem.
  • Expresses the desire to receive treatment.

What does treatment involve?

The treatment lasts a year, and is provided by the Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO) agency. The treatment involves:

  • Acupuncture
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Urine screenings
  • Support groups
  • Case reviews before a judge
  • Meetings with a Department of Corrections probation officer

Once a defendant begins the program, they initially spend about nine hours a week in treatment. However, the treatment gradually decreases as the individual progresses through the program.

If for any reason the DACCO program is insufficient to address the individual’s drug problem, then there are more sophisticated programs available to meet the person’s needs.

Is this program successful? According to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit for Hillsborough County, the DPTI program has proven to be very successful over the years. It’s helped people fight their drug addiction, it’s helped reduce recidivism, and it’s helped people avoid felony convictions so they could be productive members of society.

Are you facing drug charges? If so, contact Thomas & Paulk to schedule a free criminal defense consultation with a Tampa drug crime lawyer from our firm!