Were you recently arrested for your first-ever drug-related offense? If so, then you may be eligible for what is called the Adult Drug Pretrial Intervention Court. Under this program, first-time drug offenders are given the opportunity to avoid a felony conviction on their criminal record.
The Basics of Pretrial Intervention in Florida
In order to qualify for pretrial intervention, you must be 18 years of age or over, and not have any prior felony or pretrial intervention episode. If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible—providing that you waive your right to a speedy trial, admit that you have a drug problem, and demonstrate that you desire to receive treatment.
It is important to note that, although pretrial intervention will keep a felony conviction off your record, the record of your arrest will remain. You must also complete the steps of the specific pretrial intervention program that was a part of your diversion agreement.
What Is Required of You
If you are interested in this program and meet the requirements, once the background check is completed, you will sign a contract stating that you agree to complete a drug treatment program. Once these steps are complete, the State Attorney’s Office will agree to drop the charges after you complete the program.
How Long Does the Treatment Program Last?
The treatment program lasts one year and is provided by the Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO) agency.
The program involves the following:
- Group counseling
- Individual counseling
- Urine screening
- Attendance at a support group
Initially, program participants spend about nine hours a week receiving treatment, but the amount of treatment decreases gradually as the participant makes progress. In addition to the above, participants are required to meet with a Department of Corrections probation officer on a regular basis, and they must attend case reviews before a judge.
If the DACCO program does not sufficiently address the defendant’s substance abuse problem, they may be diverted to a more intense program.
What Happens If I Fail to Complete the Program?
If you were granted a pretrial intervention in Florida but failed to comply with its terms or failed to complete your substance abuse program, your case may go back before a judge. You may then face the full force of your felony drug charges, including a conviction and the penalties this carries. Your conviction will go on your criminal record.
For these reasons, it is important to carefully consider your options before going forward with a pretrial intervention. If you agree to pretrial intervention, you must complete the terms of your drug program.
Is Pretrial Intervention Right for Me?
If you have been arrested for your first drug-related offense in the Tampa area, then participating in the drug court provided by the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit for Hillsborough County may be an ideal opportunity to avoid a felony conviction. This is an important decision, however, so we recommend discussing this with your lawyer before you agree to or sign anything.
We urge you to contact Thomas & Paulk to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our criminal defense attorneys. As former Hillsborough County prosecutors who have handled thousands of criminal cases, we are in the best position to defend you. Plus, we will take the time to talk to you about the details of your case so you understand exactly how pretrial intervention may affect you. If it is truly the right option in your situation, we will ensure you have realistic expectations about the program and the consequences of noncompliance.
Our attorneys believe in educating our clients and protecting their constitutional rights to the fullest extent—so you can reap the benefits that pretrial intervention and other Florida diversion programs have to offer.
Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you.