A first-time drug offense in Chester County for someone struggling with addiction is serious. The outcome can mean possible time in custody and a permanent drug conviction on your record. But there are options to improve your situation, and local drug courts could be the answer.

Drug courts in Pennsylvania have shown impressive results for reducing repeat drug offenses for non-violent offenders. For instance, 75% of participants who complete the drug court program do not get arrested again. Chester County opened the second drug court in the Commonwealth 17 years ago and has enjoyed similar success since then.

If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime in Chester County, you may be eligible to avoid criminal charges and get the treatment you need through drug court. At Skinner Law Firm, we can assess your situation, explain your options, and work to get you admitted.

Call (610) 436-1410 for a free and confidential consultation.

What to Expect in Chester County Drug Court

Chester County’s Drug Court program ranges from one to two years. Participants are heavily supervised throughout the four phases of the program, and each participant is assigned a probation officer upon acceptance.

Phase one involves weekly court reviews and twice-weekly drug screenings, and the requirements gradually become less stringent if the participant successfully completes each phase.

The participant must strictly adhere to all the program requirements if they want to successfully complete it. Some of the requirements include:

  • Actively seeking employment during the program
  • Regularly attending substance abuse treatment
  • Maintaining 90 consecutive days of sobriety
  • Daily involvement in a productive activity
  • Completing a project for Phase 3 of the program

If a participant can check all these boxes, they’ll graduate from the program, have their charges dismissed by the Drug Court, and have their record expunged. However, failure to adhere to the terms set can mean removal from the drug court program and facing the typical, often harsh penalties for your drug offense.

Drug Court Eligibility Criteria

To enter this program, you have to satisfy a few requirements:

To apply for the program, you must submit a Drug Court application (or ARD application if you’ve been charged with a DUI) and pass a drug and alcohol assessment. If the Drug Court finds you to be a suitable applicant, they’ll hold a pre-trial disposition, which is essentially a hearing where the prosecutor agrees not to move forward with the case in exchange for the promise of the case’s dismissal upon successful completion of the program.

Any defendant who has been charged with the following is automatically ineligible for the Chester County Drug Court program:

An individual will also be deemed ineligible if they show a proven, past history of violence or if they’ve committed the current offense while on probation or parole.

How Skinner Law Firm Can Help You

At Skinner Law Firm, we understand the criminal consequences of drug charges, even for a first-time offense. Fortunately, drug court gives people a legal recourse to get the assistance they need.

As an experienced Chester County attorney, Michael Skinner knows how to guide people through the Drug Court process so they have the best chance at success.

To learn more call (610) 436-1410 for a free and confidential consult.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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