What Is Arizona Drug Court?

maricopa county drug court -- judge's gavel

What Is Arizona Drug Court?

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Facing drug charges in Arizona can be very scary. Many drug crimes in Arizona carry felony penalties, as well as hefty fines and mandatory jail time. Not to mention the effects that criminal charges can have on your ability to find a job, housing, or access certain civil liberties. 

Thankfully, the state of Arizona offers a way for non-violent offenders without a long criminal record to participate in an alternative sentencing option called a drug court. Let’s talk further about the Maricopa County Drug Court and discuss who is eligible to participate. 

What are drug courts? 

Drug courts began in 1989 as a way for non-violent drug crime offenders to receive treatment for their drug problems without serving prison time. There are currently about 3,500 drug courts throughout the United States. 

The Maricopa County Drug Court started in 1992. The program incorporates outpatient counseling plus drug monitoring. A team composed of a judge, probation officer, public defender, county attorney, and counselor administers the program. 

People participating in the drug court program receive random drug tests five to eight times a month. They are also required to attend both group counseling and support group sessions, as well as healthcare literacy classes. 

Who is eligible for drug court in Arizona?

In order to be eligible for the drug court program in Maricopa County, a defendant must: 

  • Not have used a dangerous weapon, such as a gun, when committing a crime
  • Have no more than one prior felony conviction on their record
  • Need drug treatment
  • Have not previously used the drug court program 

If accepted into the Maricopa County Drug Court, the program lasts for one year. During that time, participants must also:

  • Keep a steady job or enroll as a full-time student
  • Make all scheduled court appearances
  • Attend all scheduled treatment meetings and support groups
  • Submit to all random drug tests
  • Regularly report to their probation officer

Upon successful completion of the drug court program, participants may be eligible for reduced sentencing that takes a felony conviction down to a misdemeanor. And, in some instances, the person’s drug charges can be dropped completely. 

If a participant does not successfully complete the Maricopa County Drug Court program, they face being tried for their original drug charges with full penalties. 

Maricopa County Drug Court Assistance

Sometimes people facing drug charges will ask, “Does Arizona have drug courts?” We are always happy to be able to explain to them how the Maricopa County Drug Court works. As a certified criminal law specialist with 25 years of experience in Arizona, Todd Coolidge knows the ins and outs of the drug court program and can help defendants navigate the enrollment process. 

If you are facing drug charges and would like to find out if you are eligible for the drug court program, call our offices today at 602-795-0770 in Phoenix or 480-264-5111 in Chandler to schedule a consultation. 

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

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