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If you have a substance abuse issue, you may find yourself behaving or acting in ways that you would not if you were sober. With this, if you find yourself in trouble with the law while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be able to help your situation by participating in drug court. Continue reading to learn how drug court works in New Jersey and how an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you get into this program.

What is drug court?

The state of New Jersey recognizes that drugs and alcohol significantly alter an individual’s state of mind, which may lead to poor judgmental skills. And so, the state has chosen to address the root of the problem by establishing drug courts. That is, drug court is a special program designed to help defendants resolve their drug and alcohol addictions while also resolving their criminal charges. For example, defendants will be scheduled to attend court, report to probation, attend treatment, and get drug tested.

Of note, only defendants who have committed a nonviolent crime and with a moderate to severe substance addiction may qualify for this special program. And so, a prosecutor will review the defendant’s criminal history and a substance abuse evaluator will review the defendant’s addiction to analyze their eligibility.

How does drug court work in the state of New Jersey?

There are four major phases involved in a New Jersey drug court. They are as follows:

  1. Stabilization (approximately three months): in this phase, a defendant will be required to actively attend treatment, as directed by a clinician, along with actively practicing self-help.
  2. Positive change (approximately six months): in this phase, a defendant will be required to stay in a permanent home group and attain a sponsor. In addition, they will be required to work full-time, or part-time if they are also attending school.
  3. Relapse prevention (approximately three months): in this phase, a defendant will be required to maintain contact with their probation officer, along with actively continuing their self-help practices.
  4. Commencement (indefinite time period): in this phase, a defendant will be required to attend a quarterly court reporting, along with following through on paying fines and restitution and mentoring new members of the drug court.

This may be an opportunity of great benefit to you, so you do not want to do anything that may jeopardize this. However, the skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyers have experience in handling drug court violations. So if you find yourself running into any issues, do not hesitate in reaching out to our firm today. We look forward to helping you.