DRUG COURT - WHAT IS IT AND WHAT IS IT FOR?
Drug Court is for dealing with people who have drug problems and who are interested in getting treatment for their addictions.
If you are arrested and charged with a criminal possession charge, you can make application for the Drug Court and, if accepted, you will be allowed to enter the program. The program lasts for a minimum of 18 months and requires you to first attend treatment, either in-patient or out-patient, until your counselors say you've completed treatment. How long that takes depends upon the type of drugs involved, how addicted you are when you start and how well you do with the treatment. You will be required to return regularly to court, usually monthly initially while in patient and then, once released, more often just to make sure you're doing alright.
There are a few issues with Drug Court. You must first plead guilty to the top count and a Misdemeanor count in order to gain entry into the program. That means you will probably be pleading guilty to a Felony that carries upstate prison time. Then, the program gives you the opportunity to get that Felony dismissed (and perhaps all charges against you dismissed) as long as you remain drug-free for the duration of your participation in the program.
If you had a prior record and they allowed you into the program, then you may be required to plead guilty to both the Felony and a Misdemeanor, as mentioned earlier, and upon completion of the program, the Felony would be dismissed, but the Misdemeanor would remain on your record. Still, it’s a good deal in light of the fact that you could go be sentenced for up to 25 years if you have a very serious case otherwise.