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Drug Courts in California

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: An entire information to California drug courts. We assessment eligibility requirements, how one can get began, and what happens once you full the program. An in depth rationalization of the authorized course of here.


What is a Drug Courtroom?

California drug courts are problem-solving courts specially designed as an alternative choice to traditional felony justice prosecution. These courts are mainly arrange for non-violent, substance-related offenses. Briefly, drug courts put remedy and rehabilitation ahead of punishment.

The primary concept behind drug courts is that crime and habit might be treated. The normal strategy of punishment has proven ineffective, otherwise, the system would have stopped it a very long time in the past. In comparison with incarceration, habit remedy improves the long-term outcomes because it addresses the basis explanation for drug-related crime. Remedy improves a person probabilities of reintegrating into the group and turning into a productive member of society. [1]

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The truth is, there are numerous benefits of drug courts. A few of them embrace:

  • Selling long-term recovery
  • Decreasing crime
  • Decreasing drug and alcohol use
  • Reunifying families
  • Saving tax cash

On common, remedy prices for California drug courts range from $900 to $1,600. In comparison with a mean value of $5,000 per individual for a minimal interval of incarceration, perhaps you’ll agree that this seems to make financial and judicial sense. [2]

Should you or a liked one has just lately been arrested or charged with a drug-related crime in California, we’re right here to let you recognize that remedy works! In reality, will help you in case you are ready to start out remedy. American Habit Centers offers care to adults battling habit and co-occurring psychological health issues. We will help you get higher. Please call our hotline quantity immediately to speak with an admissions navigator. Hope is right here.

California’s Drug Courtroom Historical past

The idea of drug courts spread across the country in the early 90’s. Getting remedy is an economical and useful choice for people who get into authorized hassle. These courts supply more focused help that gets on the root reason for the difficulty. But when did the state first begin offering drug courts?

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California’s first adult drug courtroom started in Alameda County in 1991. In 1995, California’s first juvenile offender drug courtroom started hearing instances in Tulare County. In 1998, The Division of Alcohol and Drug Packages started supporting the development of drug courts in California.

California drug courts are a lot much less formal than traditional courts. They’re much more loosely structured, giving every courtroom some flexibility as to how it will run. There’s an ongoing dialogue between the decide, prosecutor, defense lawyer, and defendant. The main target is on individuals somewhat than punishment. [3]

California is committed to the concept that alcohol and drug remedy are preferable to the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders. Certainly, the effectiveness of the drug courts has been proven by quite a few scientific research. It’s been proven to scale back re-arrest rates, lower costs and supply higher remedy outcomes. It isn’t simply shoppers who benefit from drug courts… however American society as an entire. [4] [5]

Drug Courtroom Necessities and Eligibility in California

Each drug courtroom in California has its own eligibility and exclusion necessities, so, when defining drug courtroom eligibility, it’s higher to first define who is just not eligible to participate in a drug courtroom. Normally, you aren’t eligible when you have:

  • A prior conviction for a violent crime.
  • Been charged with a DUI and ensuing critical damage.
  • Been charged with a criminal offense involving possession of a firearm.
  • Been charged with a violent offense.
  • been charged with arson or sex crimes.
  • Been charged with drug possession with intent to sell.
  • Been charged with drug manufacturing or trafficking.
  • Refused remedy.
  • Illegal presence within america.

Additionally, you have to be recognized with habit in order to go through drug courtroom. This is sensible. Plus, you have to be eligible for probation in order to participate. Because the program takes place out of custody, you have to be on probation in order to attend activities. Lastly, you need to not be beneath lively deportation process.

What laws help these tips?

Drug courtroom packages are legally approved by California Penal Code 1000.5 PC. [6] In accordance with this code, defendants are referred to drug courtroom by written agreement of a decide, the prosecutor, and the public defender.  Commencement necessities differ, but often involve the completion of instructional and job coaching necessities with habit remedy. Successful completion of a drug courtroom program may result in a dismissal of the drug costs.

When it comes to eligibility, crucial standards are that California drug courts are designed to deal with non-violent drug-using offenders whose legal history is said to drug abuse and habit.

The State of California has authored revolutionary legislature to back up the thought. Proposition 36, also called the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, is a mandatory diversion program for many who qualify. Its principal objective was to permit first and second-time, nonviolent offenders get remedy relatively than go to jail. [7]

Getting Started

Presently, California has over 200 drug courts inside its 58 counties. [3] The several types of Collaborative Justice Courts in California embrace:

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  • Grownup Drug Courtroom
  • Again on TRAC
  • DUI/DWI Courts
  • Household Dependency Drug Courtroom
  • Federal District Drug Courtroom
  • Homeless Courts
  • Juvenile Drug Courts
  • Psychological Well being Courts
  • Re-Entry Courts
  • Tribal Therapeutic to Wellness Courts
  • Veterans’ Remedy Courtroom

Drug Courts in California work in response to certain models. There are four ways to enroll in a drug courtroom program. Since each drug courtroom in California has totally different standards and every case is unique, it’s greatest to seek the advice of an lawyer to study more about how one can enroll into a drug courtroom program instead sentence. The primary ways you possibly can request participation in a CA drug courtroom embrace:

  1. The pre-plea model permits drug possession offenders a keep of prosecution in the event that they participate in a remedy supervised by the courtroom.
  2. Publish-plea fashions state that a defendant has to enter a guilty plea earlier than getting into remedy. The remedy lasts from nine months to 3 years.
  3. The post-adjudication model provides alternative drug offenders to re-enter remedy after their conviction. But first, the convicted individual has to serve the sentence. If the case is referred to drug courtroom following a conviction at a jury trial, the trial decide has the option of retaining jurisdiction of the case or referring it to a calendar courtroom.
  4. The civil model permits individuals to enter remedy as a condition of retaining or regaining custody of a kid or youngsters. Failure to complete this system may result in everlasting lack of custody.

So, what’s the process like?

STEP 1: In case you are eligible for a drug courtroom, a decide will order a screening. This shall be carried out by the Program Manager or Therapist concerned in this system. Screening takes place in the form of an interview and it will often last for an hour.

STEP 2: After the screening, a multidisciplinary group will assess your report and private history. This often occurs the same week or the week following the assessment. Screening and assessment make sure that each participant receives applicable substance abuse disorder remedy providers and community-based help.

STEP 3: Whether it is decided that you’ll be accepted into the program, it is extremely doubtless that you’ll be positioned in residential remedy or sober dwelling program. You’ll be anticipated to complete the course of really helpful remedy.

STEP 4: Ongoing actions may be arrange by drug courtroom judges for you during and after rehab. You might have to attending ongoing counseling session, for example. Or, you could have to attend help group meetings. Compliance ensures success. Comply with the drug courtroom plan … and also you’re in your method to a brand new life!

STEP 5: Profitable completion of a program entitles you to a dismissal of the associated fees.

The Process

Drug Courtroom is a four-phase program that often lasts from 6 to 24 months. n California, drug courts often implement a multi-phased remedy course of. You will transfer from one part to the subsequent whenever you complete the necessities of the part and make progress in your restoration. Poor efficiency during any part might end result in going again to a previous part with extra intensive monitoring and restrictions.

Typically, drug courtroom packages in CA are divided into four phases. In case you are a drug courtroom participant in California you should full all these phases in order to qualify for dismissal of costs and a clear authorized document.

1. Stabilization Part. This primary stage of remedy focuses on your  stabilization. The stabilization part might embrace a interval of detox, psychosocial and physical assessment and improvement of remedy plan. During this part, you will have to attend courtroom as soon as every week.

2. Intensive Remedy Part. Abstinence from medicine and alcohol as a main focus. This part sometimes includes intensive individual and group counseling, attend weekly AA and NA conferences. Often, members attend courtroom twice every week.

three. Aftercare Evaluation Interview Part: You’ll proceed with group therapy and individual counseling, and you will nonetheless should attend help group meetings. Sometimes, during this part, you may be interviewed by the Drug Courtroom group. The interview will determine in case you are ready to maneuver to the final part which is the aftercare. You’re required to make month-to-month courtroom appearances.

four. Transition Part. This part focuses on the planning essential to transition you out of the drug courtroom, and relapse prevention strategies. The transition part might emphasize social reintegration, employment and schooling, housing providers, and different aftercare activities. You’ll have to attend courtroom once a month.


When the courtroom orders somebody to attend rehab, the subsequent step is to collect a remedy staff. The remedy workforce consists of a decide, attorneys, case managers, health care suppliers, and therapists. These professionals all work with the offender to make sure an effective remedy plan, and in addition to ensure the offender is complying with the courtroom orders. Staff members provide common communication, encouragement, and help for the offender. But drug courtroom also extends help to their family and friends members all through the hearings, remedy, and discharge.

Drug courtroom individuals in CA ought to have the opportunity entry to a continuum of remedy and rehab providers. [8] Remedy providers ought to embrace:

  • Aftercare providers
  • Attendance at help group meetings
  • Detox
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Inpatient or outpatient rehab
  • Obligatory drug checks
  • Drugs
  • Regular appearances before the courtroom

You may be required to pay for the remedy, and you may select where you need to be treated. Insurance might pay for all or a part of a remedy program, and some amenities supply decreased or sponsored funds for qualifying people.

The severity of your habit and your dedication will decide your recovery time. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that the majority members ought to be capable of efficiently full the remedy program after 10 to 24 months. In the event you cooperate with the courtroom you possibly can flip this example at your benefit, your probation terminated or expenses dismissed.


After enrollment in a drug courtroom program, your progress can be intently monitored by the courtroom. You’re anticipated to be on time, to point out up to and complete drug exams. You’re additionally required to attend all group periods and courtroom dates. You may be asked to be trustworthy.

In other words, once you undergo a drug courtroom in CA, you’re held accountable on your progress. You’re anticipated to comply with the courtroom’s orders and respect the courtroom.

So as to encourage compliance, behavioral modifications and adherence with remedy, the courtroom will use sanctions and incentives. Rewards for compliant conduct can embrace:

  • Certificates of graduation
  • Extended curfew
  • Present certificates
  • Reward by the courtroom or decide
  • Promotion to the subsequent part
  • Sobriety tokens
  • Termination of probation

Conversely, sanctions for non-compliance might embrace: writing a letter to the courtroom or to your case manager, coming to courtroom extra typically, group service, time in jail, termination from drug courtroom. Though there isn’t a set variety of violations that end result in termination, persistent noncompliance are usually not tolerated. In case you are terminated from this system, you may be despatched back to courtroom for sentencing.

Nonetheless, most individuals successfully complete of all phases of remedy.  In some instances, probation may be terminated at the end of this system. In different instances, you should efficiently full the complete three years of probation after participation.

California Drug Courtroom Statistics

Drug courts are usually considered simpler than routine legal justice case-processing at decreasing rates of recidivism and drug use amongst offenders. There have been many successes in California Drug Courtroom packages. Individuals have remained off of medicine, stayed out of the legal justice system, obtained their driver’s licenses, grow to be employed, gone back to high school, acquired vocational coaching and began their own businesses, and gained or regained custody of their youngsters.

SO, what are the number say concerning the effectiveness of drug courts? The info taken from the Collaborative Courts 2016 Annual Report by the County of Orange exhibits that:

The adult and juvenile packages have saved greater than $120.6 million by way of the avoidance of greater than 852,848 custody bed days.

The re-arrest fee for Drug Courtroom graduates, three years after graduation, is 28.15% for any crime, in contrast with a re-arrest fee for comparable non-participants of 74%.

The Drug Courtroom program prevented 28,637 jail and prison bed days previous to the appliance of custody credits, which have been stayed pending commencement in 2016— which interprets to a cost financial savings of $four,196,179.

Two drug-free babies have been born to ladies while they have been collaborating in Drug Courtroom in 2016, bringing the cumulative complete to 153 drug-free infants born because the inception of the program.

Members performed 1,275 hours of group service in 2016.

In the course of the yr, 63 members graduated from the Drug Courtroom program, free of habit and employed or pursuing instructional objectives. [9]

Nationwide, the numbers present that drug Courts scale back crime by a mean of eight% to 26%, with most estimates from 9% to 14%. Properly-functioning drug courts scale back crime charges by 35% and the consequences last at the least 3 years. Moreover, the typical recidivism price for many who full Drug Courtroom is between four% and 29%, in comparison with 48% for many who do not take part in a Drug Courtroom program. Lastly, for each $1,000 invested in grownup drug courts, communities reaped roughly $2 to $four in advantages, totaling roughly $three,000 to $12,000 per participant. [10]

These numbers show the effectiveness and significance of drug courts.

Drug courts can save lives.

Drug courts help individuals.

Drug courts heal our society.

Finishing California Drug Courtroom

You graduate from drug courtroom whenever you complete all four phases of this system. You have to be no less than 90 consecutive days clean and sober. Except in unusual circumstances as decided by the decide, a participant who graduates after lower than nine months in the program will remain on probation until the expiration of the nine-month period.

But before you allow supervision, the courtroom want you to have a robust restoration help system. This consists of employment and secure housing. Then, commencement is a time to rejoice your accomplishments! You could invite your family and pals to hitch you at your drug courtroom graduation. It’s typically a life altering moment.

What occurs subsequent?

When you successfully complete a Drug Courtroom program in California:

  • Your probation may be terminated early.
  • Your expenses may be decreased.
  • Your case could also be dismissed.

Also, in case you are concerned in a toddler custody case, you might get your baby again.

Successful completion provides you with the tools to turn out to be contributing members of society and your group.

Your Questions

In the event you nonetheless have questions on California’s drug courtroom system, we encourage you to go away a query in the comments section under. We’ll attempt to answer you promptly and personally.

Reference Sources: [1] James E. Lessenger / Glade F. Roper (eds.) Drug Courts: A New Strategy to Remedy and Rehabilitation
[2] California Department of Alcohol and Drug Packages – Drug Courts Overview.
[3] California Courts: Drug Courts
[4] HHS: Drug Courtroom Effectiveness: A Evaluation of California Evaluation Stories, 1995–1999
[5] National Institute of Justice: Do Drug Courts Work? Findings from Drug Courtroom Analysis
[6] California Legislative Info: California Penal Code 1000.5 PC
[7] Proposition 36 Drug Remedy Diversion Program. Initiative Statute
[8] California Courts: 2019 California Guidelines of Courtroom
[9] Superior Courtroom of California County of Orange: 2016 Annual Report
[10] Drug Courts: Nationwide Perspective
Superior Courtroom of California: County of San Diego: Drug Courtroom Course of
Superior Courtroom of California: Drug Courtroom Participant Handbook