Collier County Felony Drug Court Program
The Felony Drug Court Program is a court-supervised drug and alcohol treatment program for individuals involved in the criminal justice system with a substance abuse problem. This program is designed to divert cases from the traditional court system, while helping participants recover from drug and alcohol addiction, stay in recovery and become productive members of society. This program provides immediate and concentrated treatment, which includes supervision and monitoring by a drug team, which includes a drug court judge.
The drug court team works with and helps the participant to comply with requirements, but participants must be committed to recovery to be successful in this program. Entry into the program is completely voluntary, but compliance is required while in the program and the participant does not decide to stay or leave the program.
Participants who enter the Felony Drug Court Program enter a plea with the prison sentence deferred during the program, while being supervised by the Department of Corrections. The participant must sign a Probation Agreement and enter a guilty or no contest plea to the charges, depending upon the plea agreement agreed upon by the participant, counsel and the State Attorney's Office.
The Drug Court Program does require many court appearances before the judge. The drug court team attends each court session to discuss the participant's progress and makes recommendations to the drug court judge. The drug court team consists of representatives from the State Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, the Department of Corrections, the treatment provider and the drug court judge(s).
During court, the participant and the judge communicate to discuss any problems the participant might be having. If doing well, the participant will be rewarded and encouraged to continue working on his or her treatment plan. If not in compliance, the judge will determine the consequences.
The length of the program is partly dependant on the participant. In general, the participant is expected to complete the requirements between fourteen and a half and twenty-four months, unless recommended otherwise by the drug court team. There are four phases, each of which must be completed before advancing to the next phase and all of which must be completed before graduation.
Upon graduation, if the participant is in the program for a substantive charge(s), the State Attorney's Office will dismiss the charge(s). Upon graduation, if the participant has a charge of violation of probation after a prior plea and probation sentence, the violation of probation affidavit will be dismissed, the probation will be terminated and the conviction that was imposed will remain. Adjudication originally withheld will be upheld upon graduation. If the participant pled to a charge for which the participant has not previously been placed on probation, the participant will be allowed to withdraw the plea of guilty or no contest upon graduation, the sentence will be vacated and the charges will be dismissed by the State Attorney's Office.
The participant's family and friends will be welcomed to join the participant and the drug court team in court on the day of expected graduation. This will be the first day of a new life, a life that is free of substance abuse.