The Drug Court in NSW is a state scheme under which drug dependent offenders can be referred to rehabilitation programs as a way to help reduce the likelihood of them reoffending, and allow them to address their dependency. The Drug Court is based in Parramatta, Toronto and Sydney, and takes referrals from a number of courts in the surrounding areas.
How does Drug Court work?
If they are accepted into the Drug Court program, participants will undergo an intensive rehabilitation program that is tailored to their specific needs. The program generally has three stages and lasts 12 months in total. During the program, participants are expected to remain in contact and participate in regular reviews of their progress. They also have to undergo regular drug testing to ensure they are complying with the requirements of the program.
According to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), the Drug Court has had a positive effect on its participants, with the most recent figures showing that offenders who participated in the Drug Court program were 37% less likely to be reconvicted of any offence than untreated offenders with the same eligibility for the program.
Taking part in the Drug Court program means that the participant’s original sentencing will be reviewed after 12 months, when the program is completed. Successful completion of the program can potentially lead to a less severe sentence than not participating. Completing the program also allows offenders to break the cycle of drug dependency and crime, and improve their health and lifestyle. Participation in the Drug Court Program may lead to a custodial sentence being changed to a non-custodial sentence.
I’m facing drug charges, how can a criminal lawyer in Parramatta help me?
There are a number of eligibility criteria for the Parramatta Drug Court, and if you have an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the court and how it works, they can advise you on whether or not you are likely to meet the criteria. Drug court isn’t for everyone, but if you decide that you want to participate in the Drug Court, your lawyer can help you apply for the program and gather the necessary documentation you will need.
Even if you do meet the criteria for acceptance into the Drug Court program, there is no guarantee you will be accepted. Places are limited and much of the selection process is dependent on a ballot system. If you are accepted on to the Drug Court program you can choose to terminate it at any time if you feel you are unable to continue. Ending your participation will mean that you revert to your original sentence.
If you have a drug dependency issue and are facing the likelihood of a custodial sentence, the Parramatta Drug Court could be for you. The Drug Court is not an easy option, but it can pay off in the long-term and can help you get back on track with your life and your health.
The right criminal lawyer will be able to give you more information about the Parramatta Drug Court and speak to the judge or magistrate about your participation in the program.