When Drug Addiction Leads to Crime, Drug Treatment Court May be the Answer

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All too often drug addiction leads to criminal charges.  Most often charges involve the drugs themselves.  Possession of the drug is many times the first crime an addict will be charged with.  However, other charges may also come into play.  For example, drug addicts are many times struggling financially and therefore, theft is also a very common charge for drug addicts.  Other common charges are public intoxication, driving under the influence, obtaining drugs by fraud, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

Many times these more minor crimes maybe the best time to catch the addict and attempt to help them recover before they “graduate” on to more serious or violent offenses.  Recognizing the short comings of just incarcerating the addict only to release them back into the same environment, many jurisdictions, including Indianapolis and Hamilton County, have created problem solving courts.  These courts are geared at tackling a specific problem allowing for more creative and effective means to address the problem that is leading to the criminal behavior.

What is Drug Treatment court?

One of these types of courts is a Drug Treatment Court.  In this blog the Indianapolis drug crime defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower take a closer look at drug treatment courts. The focus of drug treatment court is the provide structure for the Defendant to encourage enrollment in and successful completion of drug treatment.  For those able to successfully complete the program, they are rewarded with a dismissal of their criminal charges.

Drug treatment court requires a significant commitment of the participant.  The participant must be prepared to fully embrace sobriety.  The participant must sign an agreement that is detailed in its expectations and requirements.  Someone that violates terms of the agreement can face sanctions including a conviction and execution of jail time.
The length of the program will vary depending on the participant’s success with treatment.  However the minimum length of time to complete the program is 12 months.  The treatment program is divided into 3 phases with each one having to be successfully completed to move on to the next one.

Phase One

Phase one of the program focuses on assessing the extent and nature of the addiction, detoxing and stabilizing the person.  This first phase will last between 8 to 12 weeks depending on the participant and how well they are progressing.  This phase will get the person through detox, develop a treatment plan, and create goals to succeed in treatment, begin treatment and begin regularly attending a 12 step program.  Throughout all phases, the participant is subjected to random drug screens.

Phase Two

Phase two of the program focuses on overcoming the barriers to recovery and developing a plan for relapse prevention.  During this phase weaknesses will be identified and addressed and identifying and addressing behaviors that could result in relapse is completed.  Regular meetings with treatment providers, the court and continued involvement in a 12 step program will be required.  Additionally, if not employed, attempts will be made to help the individual obtain work.  This phase will last between 12 to 16 weeks.

Phase Three

Phase three of the program focuses on maintenance of recovery and responsibility to self.  It is the goal of this phase to get the participant to be self-supportive and firmly on the continued track of recovery.  During this phase continued meetings with treatment providers, attendance at a 12 step program, random drug screens and monthly court appointments will occur.  This phase will last 5 to 7 months to try to ensure that the participant is maintaining long term success.

For those that successfully complete all three phases, they will “graduate” from the program and have their criminal cases dismissed.  Throughout the process there are strict levels of compliance.  If an individual commits a crime involving a victim while in the program, they will be terminated from the program.  If the individual misses a scheduled court date, the court will issue a warrant for their arrest.  Additionally, if a participant fails drug screens or misses treatment, they can receive consequences that could include jail or termination from the program.
In conclusion, drug treatment court can be a life altering program for those that are ready to commit themselves to obtaining sobriety.  The goal is to get the participant in recovery and prevent them from relapsing or returning to the criminal justice system.

Contact Banks & Brower

If you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction and it has led to criminal charges, contact the experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower so they can assess your situation and see if drug treatment court may be a good alternative for you.  We can be reached at 317-870-0019.