What is Drug Court & How Does it Work in South Carolina?
Approximately 50% of the 7 million convicted criminals were under the influence of various drugs when they committed their offenses. An estimated two-thirds of them were also regular drug users. This is where drug courts come in. The main purpose of drug courts is to treat drug-involved offenders to reduce or completely eliminate substance abuse and, ultimately, decrease related criminal behavior. An individual must be screened and can only go in at the election of the prosecutor.
Drug courts have been proven to decrease recidivism, promote community safety, and help rehabilitate offenders with the use of substance abuse treatments and punishment alternatives. However, it’s crucial to note that not all offenders are eligible for drug court.
What You Should Know About Drug Court Programs in South Carolina
Participants in drug court programs typically go through three to four phases that will help them establish a law-abiding and sober lifestyle. The phases are designed to give participants a better understanding of why and how they are abusing or dependent on drugs by recognizing why they use drugs, their patterns of drug use, and how their drug use affects them and their families.
Drug court programs involve counseling, group sessions, detox, and other rehabilitation strategies, in which participants must complete a predetermined number of hours weekly in a facility. Most facilities offering drug court programs have flexible and reasonable hours to help participants complete the program and still attend school or go to work, if applicable.
If you get accepted into a drug court program, you must usually complete it in twelve months. However, some programs provide extensions to participants who struggle with the treatment but are truly committed to completing it. If you successfully complete the program, show positive outcomes, and complete all the other court-ordered requirements, the court will most likely dismiss your case.
On the other hand, if you don’t complete the drug court program or violate the rules, your case will be ordered back to the court. Consequently, you will be prosecuted for the crime that landed you in drug court and possibly receive extra penalties for non-completion of the program.
Am I Eligible for Drug Court in South Carolina?
While discussing your case with a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer is the best way to find out if you’re eligible for drug court in SC, in general, the eligibility requirements include:
- 17 years old and up
- Meet the program’s residence requirements
- Your participation must be voluntary
- You have a drug or alcohol abuse problem
- Your charge must be a non-violent offense
- You must plead guilty to the charge against you
- You must have no other felony charges in other jurisdictions
- You must have no record of drug dealing
- You must not have a conviction for any sexual or violent offense and no pattern of assaultive or violent behavior
Consult With a Seasoned South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer
Getting into drug court in South Carolina is not easy. But if you believe that you may qualify for drug court, speak to our South Carolina criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your case. Call The Law Office of Brad C. Richardson, LLC, or complete our online form to arrange your consultation.