If you are convicted of drug possession or another non-violent crime in Will County, you could be sentenced to spend a year or more in prison. But if your criminal behavior is affected by substance abuse, you may have the option of an alternative program known as drug court.
Statistics show that over 40 percent of people who spend time in prison will be back behind bars within three years of their release. Each prison inmate costs Illinois taxpayers $22,000 per year. The Will County drug court has proven more successful and substantially less expensive. Since it began in 2000, less than 10 percent of drug court graduates have reoffended, and the program costs just $3,000 per person. Drug court programs in Illinois are governed by the Drug Court Treatment Act (730 ILCS 166).
Who Qualifies for Will County Drug Court?
An offender must meet the following minimum criteria to be considered for acceptance into the Will County drug court program:
• A resident of Will County;
• Currently charged with a non-violent crime;
• No pending DUI charges, because the offender must be able to drive to attend weekly sessions;
• No more than two felony convictions in the past ten years, and those must be non-violent crimes; and
• Willing to accept the treatment recommendations of the drug court.
What Happens If I Am Accepted to the Drug Court Program?
The drug court program has three phases. In Phase 1 - Treatment, you sign a written contract that says you plead guilty to the charges against you and you waive certain constitutional and statutory rights. Your contract specifies the length of time you must remain in the program (12 to 18 months). You may be assigned to either inpatient or outpatient treatment for substance abuse. Outpatients must make weekly appearances in court in addition to participating in the assigned treatment sessions. You may also be required to go to school and/or perform community service.
During the second stage, Phase II - Continuing Care, your required court appearances are reduced to every other week. You must submit to random drug testing and continue with the recommended treatment plan. In Phase III - After Care, court appearances drop to once every three weeks, but random drug testing continues and you will participate in more counseling sessions with other drug court participants.
Upon successful completion of the program, the court may dismiss the original charges against you. No criminal conviction will appear on your record.
Call a Knowledgeable Joliet Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested on illegal drug or controlled substance charges, an experienced Will County drug crimes defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to get you help through the Drug Court program. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, we have delivered positive outcomes for many clients charged with misdemeanor or felony drug crimes. Contact us at 815-740-4025; we answer calls around the clock.