ADDE Program in Hillsborough County

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 domestic violence.

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 Intervention Court.

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.