Not that long ago, a felony drug conviction meant that you were going to prison. Realizing that incarceration does not solve the problem, court systems across the country have established drug courts as an alternative. Michigan has established drug courts across the state, including in Lansing. The purpose of Lansing’s drug courts is to provide offenders the opportunity to get treatment and thereby reduce the number of repeat offenders that burden the Michigan court system.
An experienced drug offense lawyer can help you understand your options and which ones are best for you. If you’ve been charged with a felony drug crime, call DeBruin Law PLLC at (517) 324-4303 before it’s too late – we’ll discuss your case and how we can help.
Determination of Eligibility for Drug Court
The first step after you have been arraigned is to determine whether you are eligible for drug court. Here are some of the main criteria you will have to meet in order to qualify:
- You are a non-violent offender;
- You reside the county where the drug court operates;
- You are severely addicted to drugs;
- You are charged with an offense related to the use or possession of drugs;
- You are not a danger to public safety;
- You must submit to a screening and evaluation and agree to abide by all requirements of a court-ordered drug treatment program.
As part of this process, understand that you will have to plead guilty to some criminal charges. In some cases, however, the prosecution may offer you a reduced charge in exchange for your cooperation and agreement to enter treatment.
If the parties agree that drug court would benefit you and you are willing to enter into the program, your case will then be referred to the drug court team to make the final determination as to your eligibility. If the team determines that you are eligible, your case will be referred to the drug court. Once admitted, you will be ordered to appear for sentencing on another date.
If the drug court team decides that you are not eligible for drug court, your case will then proceed through the traditional criminal justice process.
The Drug Court Process
As part of the drug court process, you will be assigned a probation officer and a treatment team. Before the drug court process begins, there will be a treatment team session in order to address any issues and map out your treatment plan.
At the sentencing hearing, the court will lay out the terms of your probation. Your probation will likely incorporate the treatment plan developed by your treatment team. As part of your probation, you will have to regularly appear for court hearings intended to monitor your progress and check in with the probation department more often than you would in traditional probation. In addition, you will also have to abide by the following terms:
- You will not commit any other crimes.
- You will not leave the state without permission.
- You will report to your probation officer as required by the court and keep them apprised of any changes of address.
- You agree to comply with all required evaluations and tests.
- You will not use any drugs or alcohol for the duration of your probation.
- You will not possess any firearms.
- You will appear for all court appearances.
There will be other terms that you have to comply with. As burdensome as these requirements may be, remember that compliance with all of the terms of your probation will keep you out of jail.
Failure to Comply with Drug Court Provisions
Keep in mind that you will have to plead guilty to a criminal charge in order to be admitted to drug court. As a result, failing to comply with any of the terms of your probation will have immediate consequences. For example, failing a drug test, missing an appointment with your probation officer, or failing to appear in court will be considered a violation. Once in violation, the court may impose the following:
- Extension of your probation
- Increased restrictions
- Additional treatment
However, if the court wishes to send you to jail, you do have a right to a hearing in order to determine whether or not the violation occurred.
Facing Felony Drug Charges in Lansing, Michigan? Contact DeBruin Law PLLC
Drug charges don’t have to ruin your life, and you don’t have to face them alone. Lansing criminal defense Attorney Tiffany DeBruin has the knowledge and experience you need to get a fair result. If you need a lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights, call us at (517) 324-4303 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.