How Delaware’s Drug Court Program Works
Since its inception in New Castle County, DE in 1997, the Delaware Drug Court Program has demonstrated clear benefits for those charged with various non-violent drug crimes. Lawmakers behind the initiative recognized that offenders often suffer from substance abuse. They are less likely to become repeat offenders by getting the treatment they need, instead of facing harsh criminal sentencing. Twenty-one years after it began, the evidence supports this point: There is a 19 percent recidivism rate for those in the Drug Court program, as compared to 49 percent that do not participate.
However, Delaware’s Drug Court is not a good fit for everyone charged with a drug offense. You must first qualify, and the program’s rules are extremely strict. Some general information may be useful, but you should discuss your specific situation with a Wilmington drug offenses lawyer.
Overview of Delaware’s Drug Court Program: The intent of Drug Court is to provide an alternative to imprisonment for defendants in certain types of drug crimes cases. The focus of the program is on those who suffer from substance abuse and related conditions, so treatment and rehabilitation are major components.
As a secondary objective, Delaware’s Drug Court is intended to alleviate the burden on the criminal justice system. Statistics show that up to 78 percent of people currently incarcerated in the US have a substance abuse problem.
How Tracks Work in Drug Court: Cases before the court proceed under one of two tracks, depending on the details of the charges:
- Track I is intended for individuals are arrested on certain drug crimes while already on probation. If the offense does not carry a minimum mandatory sentence, you may qualify for this process. A hearing will be held within 2-3 weeks of the arrest, and the purpose is to resolve the probation violation along with the new charges. If you are able to work out a plea agreement, the court will establish a treatment program to address substance abuse issues.
- Track II focuses on individuals who are arrested for drug crimes that do not carry mandatory minimum sentencing, but who have no prior felony convictions in their criminal record. Track II is a diversion program, which means you will waive your right to a jury trial if you violate the terms of your release. You must appear at periodic hearings, where a judge will check your progress in court-ordered substance abuse treatment.
If you successfully complete the treatment plan and comply with other requirements of the Track II Drug Court program, the charges against you will be dismissed.
Schedule a Free Appointment with a New Castle County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you want to know more about Drug Court, eligibility, and whether the program is right for you, please contact the Wilmington, DE offices of Attorney Michael W. Modica. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances, and tell you more about the pros and cons. We can also discuss other legal alternatives to defend against drug charges in Delaware.