However, in some cases, the offender may benefit more from treatment than punishment. In those instances, Georgia's drug courts may be able to provide the help that is necessary.
The main requirement to be eligible to attend drug court is a clear dependency on or addiction to drugs. In most cases, the eligible candidates are repeat offenders; however, there are some special instances where the court may consider first-time offenders.
There is a court standard that all drug courts and affiliated programs must adhere to. In short, the court process involves the court, defendant and prosecution working together to create a plan for the defendant's recovery. This may include jail time, but it is usually a shorter sentence. After completion of any jail time, if required, the party then enters the rehabilitation program, which may range from one to two years. Throughout the process, the defendant must check in with the court periodically. Any additional offenses may affect the participants' eligibility to stay in the program.
The rehabilitation program consists of a few different elements. The main requirements include the following:
- Submitting to scheduled and random drug testing
- Attending group counseling
- Joining a 12-step program
- Maintaining a job or obtaining education
- Abiding by a curfew and any other restrictions
All of the elements work together to provide rehabilitation while simultaneously preparing the participant to enter into society as a productive citizen. Many drug court programs across the nation have seen success. For those willing and able to commit to the process, it can be a life-changing experience.
Understanding the basics of Georgia's drug court process can help people decide if it is a good option for them. For those contemplating it, it may be beneficial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney.