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Drug court may result in dismissed charges

As more people come to understand addiction, the justice system has adapted, turning away from strictly punitive measures and dealing with the underlying issues instead. One of the outcomes of this approach is drug court. The National Drug Court Resource Center reports that these programs have proven successful at preventing re-arrest.

According to the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office, the county court system offers pre-trial diversion so that people can obtain substance use treatment and keep from having a conviction on their criminal record.


This program is open to people who do not already have certain minor charges or significant criminal records. Most people who join the program are facing their first criminal charges. A person must enter the program voluntarily.


Program participants have a team of professionals and others on their side helping them to overcome their addiction and change their behavior patterns. In addition to the court team, this may include a probation officer, social worker, addiction treatment counselor, peer support and others.


The program requires participants to engage by providing urine samples frequently to prove that they do not have alcohol or drugs in their system. They must also attend regular court dates to verify their progress.

Treatment may include both one-on-one counseling sessions and group therapy. There may also be educational classes and/or family group sessions.


Drug court programs typically last from 18 to 24 months, depending on the circumstances of the individual’s arrest and other factors. Graduation from the program is an important milestone that marks the start of a second chance on life.