When a person is arrested for a drug charge, often times he or she could face jail sentences, expensive fines and a plethora of other penalties. Rather than reform the person, the criminal justice system simply punishes them and pushes them along. However, some drug offenses could lead Ohio residents to a drug court program.
The use of drug court programs in Ohio has increased since the adoption of Senate Bill 2 in 1996 and subsequent revisions to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2951.041, Intervention in Lieu of Conviction. These programs often focus on the treatment of people who are facing lesser drug offenses.
There are certain factors that could prevent a person from being considered for a drug treatment program. Some of the reasons a person could be disqualified from Ohio drug courts can include:
• Alleged offense is gun related
• Alleged charges are violent or sexually based
• Prior drug trafficking or distribution convictions
• Prior violent crime convictions
• Prior contempt charges
• Multiple prior felonies
Drug court programs in Ohio provide a network and a supportive system of rehabilitation that requires offenders to comply with supervision and treatment guidelines. If a person meets all of the requirements, he or she likely could be required to only pay reduced fines or have the criminal charges dismissed.
When a person is arrested for drug possession in Ohio, he or she typically is screened for drug court eligibility. Some of the factors a person would need to meet in order to enter an Ohio Drug Courts program include, but are not limited to:
• He or she must be charged with a felony of the fourth or fifth degree
• He or she must have sufficient motivation for treatment
• He or she must meet Ohio’s sentencing guidelines for a presumption for probation
• He or she has to be diagnosed as primarily having a chemical dependency
If a person qualifies for the program and decides to begin the drug court process, the first step is to meet with case managers. These are the people who will monitor a person’s involvement in the program to ensure all requirements are being met. The case manager also could impose more restrictions for the person involved in the program.
A program participant will be required to submit urine tests on a regular basis to prove his or her sobriety while in the program. The participant also could be required to attend Narcotics Anonymous or another 12-step program meeting, plus comply with all other requirements set by the case managers.
This ongoing process is essential to the elements of drug court success. Consistent monitoring and supervision, drug testing and follow-up meetings help to ensure a person is dedicated to completing the program. If a person fails to comply, he or she could face a variety of sanctions.
For example, if a person enters the drug court program but fails to remain sober, he or she could be disqualified from the program. The person then would face the normal criminal charges that typically could accompany the offense.
Participation in drug court programs can be beneficial to those facing criminal charges in Ohio. Complying with the program and following all of the necessary steps could mean having a clean criminal record. A Dayton drug defense attorney can review the facts of the case and help offenders determine their eligibility in the program.