How Does Drug Court In Louisiana Work?
Each year in the United States, approximately two million people are arrested for drug use. Many of these individuals suffer from substance abuse, something that more people are becoming aware of is a disease. After an arrest, many people are criminally charged and sentenced to high fines, many years in prison, and more. The problem with the traditional way of dealing with drug offenders is that a defendant’s underlying substance abuse issues are never addressed. That makes them more likely to reoffend and place a burden on taxpayers as they use resources in the criminal justice system.
To combat the problem, and to get people the treatment they need, Louisiana has established drug courts. Our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer explains more below.
The Purpose of Drug Court in Louisiana
The Louisiana Drug Court is designed to lower the number of people who have had their probation revoked due to multiple drug crime charges. The drug court oversees cases involving drug offenders that have been charged with fairly minor drug offenses. If someone is eligible for drug court, they will receive treatment that involves supervision, counseling, and opportunities for education rather than a prison sentence.
Drug court programs are often very successful because they actually treat the cause of the crime rather than just punishing someone after the fact. Drug offenders are then less likely to become repeat offenders because they have received the necessary treatment.
Drug Court Eligibility
Drug court is a great opportunity for those who can participate, but not everyone qualifies. To be eligible for Louisiana Drug Court, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Cannot be a sex offender
- Cannot have any prior convictions for a felony
- The charges cannot pertain to a violent crime
- The charges cannot pertain to a DWI that caused the death of another person
- The charges cannot pertain to one of multiple counts of producing, cultivating, or manufacturing an illegal substance
- The court must reasonably believe you suffer from a substance abuse issue
If you meet the above requirements and there is nothing that would make program participation difficult, such as a mental health issue or limited access to transportation, you may be able to enroll in the program.
Completing the Program
One of the biggest benefits of the drug court is that if you successfully complete the program, your conviction may be set aside and the prosecution dismissed. Completing the program consists of attending NA or AA meetings, undergoing individual and group therapy, being placed under supervision, and community monitoring.
Throughout the program, you will also be required to make regular court appearances. If you do not attend these hearings, or otherwise fail to comply with the program requirements, you will face serious consequences.
Our Criminal Defense Attorney in Ouachita Parish Can Protect Your Rights
If you are facing drug charges and want the best chance of retaining your freedom, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer is here to help. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our seasoned attorney has the necessary experience with the drug courts to determine if you are eligible so you can enter the program. Call us now at 318-387-2776 or reach out to us online to request a free consultation.