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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

The Benefits of Drug Court in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Defense

illinois drug court attorneyFor over a decade, the Illinois court systems have recognized the link between substance abuse problems and crime recidivism rates. In typical courts, a defendant found guilty of drug possession may face a steep fine or jail time ranging from three months to 15 years. Afterwards convicted individuals may face sparse employment prospects due to a blemished criminal record. Additionally, those struggling with substance abuse problems may be further influenced to commit property crimes such as credit card forgery or violent crimes such as armed robbery in order to sustain a drug habit.

For individuals who keep running into legal problems for offenses stemming from drug use, and who are motivated to overcome their addictions, Illinois has instituted drug courts as an alternative sentencing method. The purpose of these courts is to aid non-violent substance abuse offenders in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In drug courts, state judges focus on sentencing selectees to a drug treatment plan in hopes of rehabilitating the selectee rather than sentencing the individual to jail or fines for the purpose of punishment. The overall policy goal of the program is to stop legal problems caused by drug addiction from the root.

Drug courts operate throughout the state of Illinois including in Cook and DuPage Counties. Drug courts differ by county in specific details of the programs but each share in the same fundamental characteristics.

Common Characteristics of Drug Courts

The Drug Court Treatment Act governs basic structure and function of drug courts in Illinois. It defines drug court as an “immediate and highly structured judicial intervention process for substance abuse treatment of eligible defendants that brings together substance abuse professionals, local social programs, and intensive judicial monitoring….”

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to participate in an Illinois drug court, the defendant must be charged with a nonviolent offense and must be willing to admit to a drug problem and undergo substance abuse treatment. An individual is ineligible if she has participated in a drug court program before.

Procedure

Defendants who pass initial screening for acceptance into drug courts are often are asked to submit to an evaluation by a state recognized professional to determine the nature and severity of the drug addiction. Afterwards the defendant must sign a written agreement to comply with terms of the drug court that are imposed by the judge.

Once selectees are chosen, they are given an individualized treatment plan with which they must comply. Most plans require offenders to report to frequent judicial check-ins and screenings such as urine analysis to ensure the offenders remain in compliance with court-ordered treatment plans. Court-ordered plans often also require supervision outside the courtroom from case managers or law enforcement personnel and may provide support systems for rehabilitating defendants.

Penalties in Drug Court

Though the conditions to complete drug court can be rigorous and intense, the payoff of getting to approach life again with a clean slate is high. Drug court participants may be asked to pay fines, restitution for their offenses, and may be asked to undergo substance treatment in the form of individualized or group therapy, drug analysis testing, and educational or vocational counseling.

Failure to comply with the court-ordered treatment plan in a drug court may result in dismissal from the drug court program. Afterwards the individual may be prosecuted in a typical criminal court for the original charged offense.

If you are interested in discussing drug courts as an option for you or someone you care about who is facing criminal charges, the defense attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. are knowledgeable in this area and are here to help. Call us at 630-472-9700.

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