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Drug Court Attorneys in Belvidere NJ

Experienced Criminal Attorneys Providing In-Depth Insight into the Drug Court System in Sussex County and Warren County NJ

Drug Court Attorneys in Warren County NJThe criminal defense attorneys at our firm in Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey have decades of experience defending clients against allegations of drug crimes in Superior Court. In some cases, drug court is an option for those with substance abuse addiction who are charged with non-violent crimes. The cornerstone of drug court is for defendants with legitimate drug problems to obtain the help they desperately need to overcome addiction. Drug court is described as collaborative links among the courts, prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement, treatment providers, social service agencies, and community-based non-profit organizations; a standardized assessment process used to identify eligible non-violent offenders; staff members trained in substance abuse and recovery issues operating in a non-adversarial atmosphere; a system of graduated sanctions and incentives to encourage recovery goals and hold offenders accountable for non-compliant behaviors; continuing training and education on a state and national level for drug court professionals; on-going program evaluation and implementation of improvements as warranted.

The drug crime defense lawyers on our legal team have represented numerous defendants charged with controlled dangerous substance possession and distribution crimes who were able to avoid prison time by being admitted into drug court. If you are facing indictable drug-related crimes in Pohatcong, Phillipsburg, Wantage, Andover, Newton, Franklin, Belvidere and towns throughout Sussex and Warren County, you may be eligible for enrollment in drug court. Don’t hesitate to contact The Tormey Law Firm at 973-755-1695 to take the first step in defending your liberty and getting the help you need.

Historical Journey of New Jersey’s Drug Court

Drug court in New Jersey originally began as a pilot program in 1996, with the first participants admitted to the new program. Four years later, in May 2000, as a best practices model, the pilot program was gradually expanded until there were drug courts throughout the entire state.

The drug court program was specifically created and designed to support those dealing with substance addiction who would otherwise go to prison. These non-violent offenders may have committed a crime, but in many instances, they only did so due to their addiction. Drug court gives them an opportunity to avoid prison and get their life back on track. The intention is to collaborate and rehabilitate rather than punish.

Empowerment via Rehabilitation is the Main Goal of New Jersey’s Drug Court Initiative

Pursuant to New Jersey’s Drug Court Manual and statutes at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14 (Special Probation for prison-bound offenders) and N.J.S.A. 2C:45-1 (Ordinary Probation), Drug Court is a program that allows the prosecution and defense to work together to avoid the penalty of incarceration when the heart of the defendant’s issues rise from drug. Thus, drug court requires a defendant to be employed and monitored by intense supervision which includes multiple court appearances and frequent, random urine testing.

The program also requires that the defendant not be arrested during the program. Because treatment and sobriety are the key to drug court, the probationary period is determined on a case-by-case basis, and counseling and drug treatment programs may also be implemented by the court during a defendant’s participation in drug court. Drug Court in Sussex and Warren County serves as alternative to incarceration for defendants, even with previous drug crime convictions to get their lives on the right track and potentially have their records expunged upon successful completion of the program.

Is NJ Drug Court Really Effective?

New Jersey drug courts have been incredibly effective in helping those suffering from a substance abuse problem get sober and rebuild their lives. The program comes complete with a graduation ceremony for those who successfully complete the program, helping them to feel like they’ve truly accomplished something and allowing their family and friends to share in the pride of the individual successfully beating their addiction.

The Department of Justice did a nationwide study of drug courts and determined that 85% of graduates had not committed another crime or been arrested again in the first year after graduating the program. Additionally, 72.5% still hadn’t been re-arrested two years after graduation. New Jersey’s drug courts have seen 4,700 graduates since 2002.

The Delicate Balance Between Rules and Rewards in Drug Court

Drug court has strict regulations for participants. These regulations typically include regular court appearances, frequent and random drug tests, community service, regular probation officer meetings, individual and group counseling, and rehabilitation treatment. Depending on the individual’s level of addiction and needs, drug court may also provide detoxification, inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, and relapse prevention.

Incentives and sanctions are also offered to help keep the individual on track. Drug court is intended to keep the individual out of prison, so they will often be given many opportunities to try again. For example, if the individual fails a drug test due to a relapse, they may be sanctioned to spend a weekend or week in jail. Other sanctions might include going to a residential treatment program if an outpatient program does not seem to be working.

However, drug court does not provide a defendant with endless chances. If the judge determines that the individual is not truly trying to get sober or following the requirements of the program, the individual will be removed from the drug court program. When this happens, they will then have to serve the alternative sentence they agreed to in order to get into drug court. Often, this alternative sentence is longer than they would have gotten if they had not gone to drug court, with no time taken off for good behavior or time served in drug court. This is meant as an incentive to encourage active participation in the drug court program.

Individualized Programs and Varied Timelines in Drug Court

Drug court is not meant as a punishment for those dealing with addiction. Instead, drug court is meant to help these offenders get sober and get their lives back so that they won’t find themselves getting caught up in the legal system and becoming repeat offenders. Because of this intention, drug court is not a short program. Originally, participants were in drug court for approximately five years. Currently, participants get an individualized program to meet their specific needs. Active participants with a determination to get sober can complete their program in a year or two.

The Four Eligibility Key Criteria for New Jersey Drug Court

There are four main requirements to be eligible for New Jersey drug court, including that the defendant be at least 18 years old, have an established drug addiction, be facing non-violent crime charges, and must not have any prior convictions for violent crimes. Candidates for drug court must meet all four requirements. If a candidate has been previously convicted of non-violent crimes, or has gone through drug court before, they may also still be eligible for drug court again. However, in some cases, an individual who has failed out of drug court or otherwise been in drug court before may not be eligible to enter the program again.

The Multistage Process of New Jersey Drug Court

There are four or five phases of drug court, depending on whether the individual is on Track A or Track B. During the first phase of acute stabilization. This phase lasts a minimum of 60 days. The next phase is clinical stabilization, which lasts at least 90 days. The third phase of drug court is adaptive habilitation if on Track B, which lasts a minimum of 120 days, and pro-social habilitation if on Track A, which lasts a minimum of 90 days. The fourth and last phase for individuals on Track B is continuing care, which lasts a minimum of 120 days. For individuals on Track A, the fourth phase is adaptive habilitation and this lasts for a minimum of 90 days. The fifth and final stage for those on Track A is continuing care, which lasts for a minimum of 90 days. If a participant is dedicated to getting sober, they can complete the phases of drug court and graduate in one to two years.

Sussex County NJ Drug Court Lawyers Drug Court as a Mind-Changing Paradigm

Drug court may bring to mind images of a judge in a courtroom, sentencing an individual fighting addiction to jail or prison. Instead, drug court is a state government-funded program to give those struggling with addiction a chance to get sober, get their life back, and avoid prison for non-violent crimes that they might not have committed if it weren’t for their addiction. Drug court is a strict process of probation, drug tests, rehabilitation, and other supervision that is meant to help the individual struggling with addiction get their life back on track and become a productive member of society. In successful cases, these individuals not only avoid prison time but reconnect with families and children, gain employment, and go on to live thriving, crime-free lives.

Determine if Drug Court is Right for You in Sussex County with Help from Our Criminal Lawyers

Getting into drug court isn’t as easy as just telling the judge you’d like to go to drug court. It is a process that begins with alternative sentencing and, ideally, ends with a sober participant graduating. Our criminal defense lawyers can assist you with ensuring that you are eligible for drug court, persuading a judge to allow you to go to drug court, and ensuring that you follow all the regulations of drug court while you are participating in the program if you believe that you or someone you love may be a candidate for drug court in consult with one of our criminal defense attorneys today to learn more about your legal options. We offer free consultations on drug charges and other criminal cases in Hackettstown,  Stillwater, Mansfield, Allamuchy, Montague, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County areas.

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Our attorneys serve clients in Allamuchy, Andover, Belvidere, Frankford Township, Greenwich, Franklin Borough, Hackettstown, Hopatcong, Lopatcong Township, Newton, Mansfield Township, Sparta, North Warren, Vernon, Phillipsburg, Wantage, Pohatcong Township, Stillwater, Washington Borough, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County, New Jersey.

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