Adult Drug Court

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The Drug Court Program was established to address the significant amount of substance abusing clients being placed on probation only to be revoked due to their untreated and continued use. This model is designed to address the offender’s need for treatment, support and monitoring in a highly structured system.

This system involves the treatment program, a Case Management Office, the Drug Court judge, Probation and Parole, and other community resources as needed such as AA/NA support groups. Clients are required to participate in regular treatment sessions, frequent urine drug screening, and recurrent court appearances to ensure they comply with the requirements of their probation.

Other issues which clients face, such as emotional problems, vocational needs, educational deficits, etc., are referred to the appropriate agencies. The goal of the program is to get the participant off drugs and/or alcohol and to ensure that he/she has the tools necessary to live in society without reoffending. Since its inception in 1998 the Drug Court program has grown significantly to presently providing services to approximately 265 clients throughout St. Tammany and Washington Parishes.

Criteria Phases
Judges and Schedule

Criteria

To be eligible for the program, the defendant must meet the following criteria:

  1. Defendant cannot have any prior felony conviction for any offense defined as a homicide in R.S. 14:29.
  2. The crime before the court cannot be a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B) or an offense of domestic abuse battery which is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor as provided in R.S. 14:35.3.
  3. Other criminal proceedings alleging commission of a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2 (B) cannot be pending against the defendant.
  4. Charge cannot be DWI that resulted in the death of a person.
  5. Charge cannot be one of multiple counts of distribution, PWITD, production, manufacture, or cultivation of CDS.
  6. The Drug Court Treatment Program staff has reason to believe that the individual charged suffers from alcohol and drug addiction.
  7. The best interest of the community and the interest of justice would best be served by providing the individual with treatment as opposed to incarceration or other sanctions.
  8. In addition, defendants may have difficulty participating in the program if one of the following conditions exists:
    1. Work takes them out of town on a frequent basis.
    2. Resides outside of St. Tammany or Washington parishes.
    3. Transportation problems.
    4. Severe mental or emotional problems.
    5. Sentence for offense carries a non-suspendable sentence greater than six months.
    6. Medical condition that requires immediate attention or on-going use of mood-altering substances

Phases

Phase I

  • Approximately 6 to 8 weeks (depending on individual progress)
  • Attend substance abuse treatment 4 to 5 days a week
  • Provide OBSERVED urine drug screens twice a week on a random basis
  • Must pay $10.00 per drug screen, money orders only
  • Must attend court for a status hearing every week
  • Must obtain a sponsor with at least 3-5 years sobriety
  • Must attend at least 3 AA/NA/CA meetings per week and provide documentation of attendance
  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol

If you are in compliance with all of these requirements, you are eligible to advance to Phase II. Phase II

  • Approximately 6 months (depending on individual progress)
  • Attend substance abuse treatment 2 days a week
  • Continue to provide OBSERVED urine drug screens twice a week on a random basis
  • Must pay $10.00 per drug screen, money orders only
  • Must attend court for a status hearing every other week
  • Must continue to have and utilize your sponsor with at least 3-5 sobriety
  • Must continue to attend 3 AA/NA/CA meetings per week and provide documentation
  • Must become employed full-time, enroll in college, job training, or GED classes
  • Continue abstaining from thugs and alcohol

If you are in compliance with all of these requirements, you are eligible to advance to Phase III. Phase III

  • Approximately 4 months (depending on individual progress)
  • Attend substance abuse treatment one day a week
  • Continue to provide OBSERVED urine thug screens twice a week on a random basis
  • Must pay $10.00 per drug screen, money orders only
  • Must attend court for a status hearing once a month
  • Must continue to have and utilize your sponsor with at least 3-5 years sobriety
  • Must continue to attend at least 3 AA/NA/CA meetings per week and provide documentation Must maintain full time employment, student status or obtain GED in order to graduate
  • Must have ALL restitution, probation fines, child support, etc, current
  • Continue abstaining from drugs and alcohol

If you are in compliance with all of these requirements, you are eligible to advance to Phase IV. Alumni Program/Phase IV Remember, YOU ARE STILL ON PROBATION. While you are in Phase IV you are still required to ABSTAIN FROM ALL mood-altering substances, INCLUDING ALCOHOL. Failure to maintain sobriety may cause you serious problems with your probation officer. Requirements:

  • 6 months in duration; clients must have one year clean in order to complete the program
  • Attendance of at least 6 Alumni Events is required prior to completion of Phase IV. Each time a graduate attends an Alumni event, they will receive one $10.00 UDS Bucks Coupon.
  • Drug Screen randomly, about once every 2 weeks. Continue to call the 1-888-60-DRUGS number every day. YOUR COLOR is now PURPLE (Covington) or GOLD (Slidell).
  • Court appearances once a month. You will be subpoenaed as usual.
  • You may be offered the opportunity to participate in job training and job skills programs. If you know you are interested in this, please contact the Alumni Coordinator or your Case Manager.
  • Attendance of AT LEAST three AN/NA/CA meetings per week. Verification should be turned in at your status hearings.
  • Schedule and attend at least one appointment with your Case Manager every month.

FAQs

I was ordered to participate in the 22nd Judicial District Drug Court Treatment Program, what does that mean exactly and how do I know if I am eligible?

Your sentencing judge ordered you to participate in a highly supervised drug and alcohol treatment program involving regular random drug testing, court appearances, case management, and counseling in order to allow you the opportunity to be placed on probation instead of being detained.  Drug Court is a special condition of you being on probation after you have either pled guilty to a charge or if you have failed to meet some requirement of your original probation and your sentencing judge added the program as a condition of your probation at a Revocation Hearing.

In order to be considered eligible you must:
– Be a resident of St. Tammany or Washington Parish
– Cannot have been convicted of or have any pending crimes of multiple counts of manufacturing/distribution/ or cultivation.
– Cannot be taking any narcotic medications

I was told that it is virtually impossible to complete Drug Court, is that true?

This is false.

Although Drug Court is highly involved many people have successfully completed the program. The program is approximately 1 and ½ years long in which the first year is highly involved and the remaining 6 months slightly less involved. During the entire time in the program you will be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous OR Narcotics Anonymous meetings 3 times per week (these meetings are conducted at all times of day any day of the week).

During the first year of the program you will be attending Substance Abuse Counseling (either during the day or at night) beginning at approximately 3-4 times per week for the first 8 to 12 weeks (as long as you are meeting program requirements), then twice per week for approximately the next 16 to 24 weeks, and then once per week for approximately the following 12 to 16 weeks. This all depends upon individual progress. You can expect to submit random drug screens on any day from Sunday to Saturday approximately twice per week for most of the first year of the program. By the time you have advanced to Phase IV you will be drug screening once every two weeks. You will also be required to attend court one day per week either on Wednesday or Thursday.

After you pass the initial 8 to 12 weeks your court appearances will we reduced to once every other week. Eventually you will come to court once a month. If you have not graduated from high school or obtained a GED you will be expected to do so if you are capable by the time you complete the program. WASHINGTON PARISH CLIENTS CHOOSING TO ATTEND WADAC will only have day treatment available unless they choose to attend another clinic in St. Tammany Parish. 

That sounds like a lot! If I’m unable to meet the requirements of the Drug Court does that mean I will go to jail and serve my sentence?

 No.  Drug Court has a system in which we encourage you to meet the requirements of the program through progressive sanctions (i.e. community service, more AA/NA meetings, escalating periods of parish jail time, etc.). Please note that if you consistently demonstrate that you cannot remain sober you may be referred to 28 day treatment or a halfway house. If after several failed attempts at rehabilitation you choose to continue to be in noncompliance with the program you will be dismissed from the program and your fate is determined by your Probation Officer and Judge.

My job requires that I travel out of town and my lawyer said that Drug Court would work around my job, is this true?

No.  Drug Court requires all of the previously mentioned conditions.  You must attend meetings, submit random drug screens, and attend counseling at specified times that cannot and will not be negotiated.

I don’t want to participate in the program.  What’s going to happen to me if I don’t participate?

We cannot tell you exactly what will happen to you if you choose not to participate in the program because everyone’s circumstances and crimes that they have been convicted of are different. If you choose not to participate you will have to appear before your sentencing judge on the Drug Court Eligibility Date given to you by the court. At that time the judge will re-sentence you according to the law, which defines what consequences you face as a result of the charge you have been convicted of. Examples include: removing Drug Court as a condition of your probation, imposing the full sentence, ordering you to attend another substance abuse program, submitting drug screens randomly, attending a halfway house or 28 day treatment facility, etc. WE CAN NOT TELL YOU WHAT YOUR SENTENCING JUDGE WILL DECIDE TO RE-SENTENCE YOU TO WITHIN THE FRAME OF THE LAW. 

What are the benefits of participating in the 22nd Judicial District Drug Court?

If you were sentenced under Article 893 or 894 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure you are eligible to have your convictions expunged which means that they would not be visible if a background check were run (except by law enforcement, and various professional occupational licensing boards such as the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, Nursing Board, Dental Board, Board of Psychology, etc.) Additionally, you may be eligible to have your probation terminated early upon successful completion of the 22nd Judicial District Drug Court Program if you were sentenced under Article 888.1 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure. For example, if you were sentenced to 5 years suspended sentence 5 years probation you would theoretically be able to complete probation in two years provided you meet all Drug Court and Probation requirements.

I was sentenced to enroll in the 22nd Judicial District Drug Court but I live in another parish or another state, what should I do?

We will still evaluate you as requested by the court.  Your probation will be transferred to the area in which you live and we will do our best to find appropriate substance abuse treatment.

DISCLAIMER:  All statements in this document are to provide general information to clients to make an informed decision.  Program requirements are subject to change at any time.  Please hold any further questions that you may have during your interview or Drug Court Orientation session.

Judges and Schedule

St. Tammany Parish

 Judge Hand—Thursday mornings

7:30 pre-status conferences in chambers

8:30 status conferences in court

150 clients

 Judge Penzato—Wednesday mornings

7:30 pre-status conferences in chambers

8:30 status conferences in court

150 clients

Washington Parish

Judge Coady—Monday mornings

7:30 pre-status conferences in chambers

8:30 pre-status conferences in court

30 clients