What is Drug Court?

Some Missouri courts have established what have become known as “Drug Courts” (or “Treatment Courts”) which provide alternative sentence options for eligible defendants who have clear problems with controlled substances or alcohol addiction. If you are charged with a drug crime (i.e. possession) and are eligible for this program, the charges against you could be dropped upon successful completion of the program.

Because the defendant has the ability to prevent a drug conviction from ever going on their record, the Missouri Drug Court system is tough to complete. Most courts require regular drug screenings, counseling (both individual and group), and regular appearances before a Drug Court Commissioner or Judge to check progress. The programs also typically last a year or longer depending upon your progress. Upon successful completion of such a program, you can receive a clean record and the opportunity to move forward in a positive direction with your life through the substance abuse treatment you have received. Information about Boone County’s Drug Court can be found here.

HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE THE PROGRAMS?

On the 20th anniversary of the first “treatment court” the Missouri Bar did a feature article on these programs in Missouri and found that the statistics seem to show that treatment courts:

  • Offer a proven, cost-effective method for diverting offenders from incarceration;
  • Lower the recidivism rate of offenders;
  • Allow offenders to remain in their communities, support their families, and pay taxes;
  • Reduce the number of babies born addicted; and
  • Lower crime rates and the need for foster care, and ensure that child support payments are made.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact a criminal defense attorney about the options available to you on your case.