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Understanding drug court in Georgia

In Georgia, people accused of some drug crimes may be able to avoid incarceration or have their cases dismissed by completing drug court.

People who are facing criminal charges for offenses involving drugs in Georgia may understandably be concerned about the potential penalties they may experience. Not only can a conviction for a drug crime be financially expensive at the time but it can interfere with many aspects of a person's life for many years.

When a defendant is forced to spend time in jail, they are not able to keep a job and personal relationships may also be negatively impacted. Once out of jail or prison, finding a new job or even a place to live may be difficult.

These are some of the reasons that the ability to complete a drug court program may be beneficial to people accused of drug crimes.

What happens if I complete drug court?

Defendants who are able to enter and then successfully complete drug court may be able to prevent a criminal conviction by having their cases dropped altogether. Other people may find that their jail or prison sentences can be avoided.

Who can participate in drug court?

The Cobb County drug court is set up for people charged with felony possession or forgery of prescription charges. Participants must be at least 17 years old and reside in the county.

People who are charged with possession of a drug with the intent to manufacture, distribute or sell the drug may not be able to participate. Also potentially ineligible are persons with certain physical or mental conditions, outstanding arrest warrants in other states, immigration holds, active parole status or a history of violence. Failure to complete other drug court programs may also prevent a person from being able to enter the program.

What happens once I am in drug court?

The Cobb County drug court lasts for a year and a half. Over this time, participants receive substance abuse and addiction treatment, attend support groups and participate in random substance testing. The combination of court oversight and treatment is designed to give people the opportunity to address the root problems related to their drug arrests and ideally avoid future legal and criminal issues.

Does drug court work?

Every person's experience with the drug court is unique. However, it appears to be believed that drug court can be effective as AJC.com reported that the Cobb County drug court recently received a grant of more than $200,000 from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to provide full-time instead of only part-time case management services.

After being arrested for a drug offense in Georgia, people should always contact an attorney to understand all of their options. This will help them make the right choice in how to proceed at this challenging time.