Court Programs - Seminole Drug Court


MISSION:
The mission of the Seminole County Adult Drug Court is to unite the judiciary, criminal justice entities, substance abuse treatment providers, and the community into a singular program that reduces drug use by non-violent offenders, restores them to law-abiding productivity and lessens the fiscal impact on society. 
 
HISTORY:
Florida started the national drug court movement in 1989 by creating the first drug court in the United States in Miami-Dade County. Other types of problem-solving courts followed in the 1990’s to assist individuals with specific needs and problems that were not or could not be adequately addressed in traditional courts. Problem-solving courts use the drug court model to help address specific issues that will benefit the individual, victim, and society. The specific issues may include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, mental illness, veterans' issues, and domestic violence. There are over 2,700 drug courts operating in the U.S. and territories.
 
In the years since Florida pioneered the drug court concept, numerous studies have confirmed that drug courts significantly reduce crime, provide better treatment outcomes, and produce better cost benefits than other criminal justice strategies.
 
In 2001, the Florida State Legislature stated its intent that drug courts be implemented “in each judicial circuit in an effort to reduce crime and recidivism, abuse and neglect cases, and family dysfunction by breaking the cycle of addiction which is the most predominant cause of cases entering the justice system. The Legislature recognizes that the integration of judicial supervision, treatment, accountability, and sanctions greatly increases the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment.”
 
The drug court program team within the Office of the State Courts Administrator's, Office of Court Improvement was created to foster the development and expansion of the successful drug court concept throughout Florida. By identifying funding sources, developing training materials, providing technical assistance, creating an information exchange, and working with the legislature, the drug court team helped make the Legislatures intent to have drug courts in every judicial circuit a reality. As of June 2014, Florida has 102 drug courts operating in the felony, misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency, and family dependency divisions of the court.
 
SEMINOLE DRUG COURT QUALIFICATIONS:
 
Candidates must meet the following criteria:
  • Must be a resident of Seminole County.
  • Must have a serious drug/alcohol problem needing treatment.
  • Must be charged with at least one of the following felony drug related charges:
  1. Felony possession of a controlled substance.
  2. Unlawful purchase of a  controlled substance. Manufacture of a controlled substance (in small, non-commercial amounts).
  3. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (forged prescription).
  4. Introduction of contraband (drugs) into a correctional facility.
  5. Felony worthless checks (to support drug habit).
  6. Grand Theft (to support drug habit).
  7. Uttering or Forging certain instruments (to support drug habit).
  • Must be mentally capable of benefiting from Drug Court and possess the motivation to complete the program.
  • Must be approved by the State Attorney's Office.
  • Restitution is required if applicable.
  • Violation of Probation Cases are Acceptable.
  • Defendants with prior violent felonies are NOT eligible
  • A TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) evaluation is required
 
PHASES: (The length of program phases will vary depending on individual progress. The below guidelines are the minimum requirements)
 
PHASE I - (Approximately 1 Month)
    • 3 group therapy sessions per week
    • 1 individual counseling session per month
    • 1 supervisory contact with assigned probation officer
    • Mandatory urinalysis on Mondays and Fridays with random urinalysis on all other days
    • 4 NA/AA meetings per week (NA= Narcotics Anonymous / AA= Alcoholics Anonymous)
    • Bi-weekly court hearing before the assigned Drug Court Judge
    • 20 consecutive clean urine days needed to advance to Phase II
PHASE II - (Approximately 3 Months)
    • 2 group therapy sessions per week
    • 1 individual counseling session per month
    • 1 supervisory contact with assigned probation officer
    • Weekly random urinalysis
    • 3 NA/AA meetings per week
    • Bi-weekly court hearing before the assigned Drug Court Judge
    • 45 consecutive clean urine days needed to advance to Phase III
 
PHASE III- (Approximately 6 Months)
    • 1 group therapy session per week
    • 1 individual counseling session per month
    • 1 supervisory contact with assigned probation officer
    • Weekly random urinalysis
    • 3 NA/AA meetings per week
    • 1 monthly court hearing before the assigned Drug Court Judge
    • 120 consecutive clean urine days needed to advance to Phase IV
 
PHASE IV- (Approximately 2 Months)
    • 1 group therapy session per month
    • 1 individual counseling session per month
    • 1 supervisory contact with assigned probation officer
    • Weekly random urinalysis
    • 2 NA/AA meetings per week
    • 1 monthly court hearing before the assigned Drug Court Judge
    • Continue clean urinalysis until graduation
 
GRADUATION
  • The program consists of four phases (12 months minimum) of which when fully completed the felony charge(s) or Violation of Probation will be dismissed during the court hearing before the assigned Drug Court Judge.
 
For more information on drug courts, please visit the website for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals at www.nadcp.org.
 
SEMINOLE COUNTY TIER ONE (PTI) FELONY DRUG COURT
Participation in a pre-adjudication diversion program such as the Tier One Felony Drug Court will assist first time felony offenders to avoid a criminal record and to become more productive members of society, pursue educational and employment goals. Identification and removal of these low level drug offenses from the normal criminal docket will reduce criminal justice docket caseloads for all members of the criminal justice system freeing time to focus on more serious criminal cases and lowering the overall costs of court operations. In addition to these benefits, breaking the cycle of addiction will lower future law enforcement and societal costs by preventing future crimes. The Tier One program is for first time offenders charged with felony drug possession who do not have a serious drug problem.
 
SEMINOLE COUNTY TIER ONE DRUG COURT QUALIFICATIONS:
 
Candidates must meet the following Criteria:
 
  • Must be a resident of Seminole County
  • Must not have significant addiction issues
  • Charged with a third degree felony for possession of a controlled substance or a 2nd felony purchase of a controlled substance under Chapter 893
  • No previous admission to a felony pretrial program
  • No more than one prior misdemeanor convictions
  • Must be mentally capable of benefitting from Drug Court and possess the mo motivation to complete the program
  • Restitution is required, if applicable
  • No violation of probation cases are accepted
  • No evidence of sale of controlled substance in current case or prior felony criminal conviction
  • No DUI charges may be diverted through this program
  • A TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) evaluation is required
  • Must be approved by State Attorney's Office

 
All participants must complete the following Tier One program components:
 
    • Drug Education Class
    • HIV/AIDS Awareness Class
    • Life Skills Assessment and any recommended training
    • Case Management
    • Supervision Meetings
    • Random Urinalysis
    • Court Appearances
    • Pay all program fees
    • Perform 25 hours Community Service
    • Pay cost of Investigation, if any
 
Upon full completion of the 6-12 month Tier One Drug Court program, the felony charge(s) will be dismissed by the State of Florida.