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An overview of adult drug court

A drug court in New Jersey functions as a hybrid between a regular court and a venue for rehabilitation. The court works with rehabilitation service providers, probation officers and attorneys to provide a path to recovery for those who have been charged with nonviolent drug offenses. There may be sanctions for failing to comply with the terms and goals for recovery set by the court.

Those who are unable to keep up with their treatment program may be removed from the program, which may result in their criminal charges being reinstated. Court staff have access to regular training and ongoing education on a state and federal level to increase the odds that the program best fits the needs of those going through the program. The drug court program is regularly monitored by the state, and improvements to the program may be made at any time if they are warranted.

The drug court started in 1996 with a pilot program in Camden and Essex Superior Courts. In 2000, drug courts were labeled a best practice in the state and plans were made to expand the program statewide. In April 2002, five more drug courts were established, and in September 2004, the program was expanded to the five remaining court vicinages.

Those who have been charged with possessing, using or planning to sell marijuana or other drugs may wish to hire a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to come to a plea agreement in the case, which may allow an individual to avoid penalties such as jail time or a fine in favor of probation or a suspended sentence. It may also be possible to win an acquittal by disputing witness accounts in court or by disputing physical evidence at the scene that led to an individual being taken into custody.

Source: New Jersey Courts, "Drug Courts", December 08, 2014