Lincoln and the surrounding areas of Lancaster County operate drug courts in an effort to rehabilitate drug users and lower their chances of reoffending. These “problem-solving courts” focus not on punishment but on helping people break the cycle of addiction. These courts divert individuals charged with drug possession offenses from the typical criminal justice system into a program centered on treating their substance abuse issues.
While these courts can be beneficial, they also require applicants to give up the right to a trial or an appeal. Drug courts are also selective, only taking a small percentage of applicants each year. If you are facing a controlled substance charge, it may benefit you to speak with a lawyer about the drug courts in Lincoln. An experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action for you.
How The Lincoln Drug Courts Work
After being accepted into a Lincoln drug court, participants are required to go through a five-phase program. There is no set amount of time individuals must spend in the program to graduate. Instead, there is a minimum and maximum number of weeks participants will spend in each phase.
If you are admitted into a drug court, you could graduate from the program in 78 to 156 weeks. You may not stay in the program longer than 156 weeks unless you receive special permission.
Drug Testing Requirements
One of the primary requirements of drug court is sobriety. Naturally, participants are prohibited from using any controlled substances. However, the court may make exceptions for prescription medication on a case-by-case basis.
The drug court staff frequently require random drug tests. Refusing to take a test is a drug court violation. Additionally, failing a test can come with a number of penalties, including expulsion from the program. It is important to note that a relapse does not necessarily guarantee failure, but you must record at least nine consecutive months of sobriety to qualify for graduation.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Drug Court
For many people, the possible outcomes of drug court outweigh any potential downsides. Successfully completing drug court will lead to your charges being dismissed and sealed. This could allow you to avoid potential consequences such as incarceration.
However, there are risks to this process that you should be aware of. Every person accepted into drug court must enter a plea of guilty on their charges. This not only waives your right to a trial, but it also prevents you from ever appealing your case.
This can be problematic if you fail to complete the program. If you are terminated from the drug court, your case will go back to the ordinary criminal court system, and you would have no right to contest your guilty plea.
If you are unsure whether drug court is the right choice for you, you should discuss your case with an attorney. Depending on the strength of the evidence against you, it may be better to fight your charges.
Contact a Lawyer to Discuss the Drug Courts in Lincoln
If you were arrested on a drug possession charge, drug court might be an option for you. This program can help you avoid the criminal penalties of a conviction. Unfortunately, you will lose rights to a trial or an appeal if you are terminated from the program. Contact an attorney at Berry Law to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of drug courts in Lincoln.