Monday, January 9, 2012

Pinellas County Drug Courts Positive to Counties, Judicial System and Defendants

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses Tampa Bay area Drug Courts and their benefits.

Issue:

A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times reported drug courts in Florida have proven to be beneficial, even though many taxpayers often oppose the program.  As reported in the article, the drug court programs save the judicial system $2.21 for every dollar invested in the programs.  Additionally, for every individual who participates in the drug court program, the community gains an economic benefit of $3,000.  Further, individuals who participate in the program, stay clean, and are successful in the program can generally have their criminal charges dismissed, and many times their lives are saved from the negative impact of drug use.

Drug courts provide direct supervision of the offenders and are typically made up of professionals to help the drug offenders acquire treatment.  These professionals can include the judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers and counselors.  These individuals track the offenders as they go through treatment and check on them monthly to make sure they are abiding by the rules of the drug court.  Anyone who violates the terms of the program, skips counseling, is charged with an additional criminal offense, or fails a drug test can be kicked out of the drug court program.


Why This Matters To You:

If you have been charged with a drug offense in St. Petersburg, you may be eligible for a Tampa Bay area drug court program.  The program is generally available to individuals who are non-violent substance abuse offenders that have committed certain misdemeanor or felony offenses.  The program is voluntary and typically requires participants to attend regular court appearances, seek treatment, and attend counseling.  They are also often given incentives, and sometimes, sanctions as a part of the program.

Offenses such as drug possession, prescription drug offenses and drug possession with intent to sell are usually punishable felonies or misdemeanors and can result in severe penalties, such as jail or prison sentences, a criminal record and fines.  However, the drug court program allows individuals charged with criminal offenses to purse alternative punishments to jail or prison time.  Drug courts also give these individuals a means to become productive members of society, improve their situation and their lives, and remain drug-free.  


What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, prescription pill offenses, or any other drug crime in Tampa, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss you case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing drug offenders throughout Pinellas County the entire Tampa Bay, FL area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Largo, Dunedin and Bradenton).