What is drug court and what is the Florida pretrial intervention program?
Answer: So, drug court is something that’s been around probably for the last thirty years. In Florida, it’s been around since probably 1990 or thereabouts. And what drug court is, it’s for individuals charged with minor third degree felonies for the most part. They would have an opportunity to get their record dropped or their case dropped if they successfully completed a drug court program. It’s what we refer to as a diversionary program, although Florida has some very, very tough drug laws—some of the most difficult in the country. They have an opportunity under Florida statute to allow individuals charged with possession—minor third degree felony charges—to ultimately get their record dropped or their case dropped if they successfully do a drug evaluation and treatment and usually random urinalysis, sometimes some community service hours, and in many jurisdictions, they will require an individual to come to court, sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week, just to make sure that they are doing well and then there’s very intense meetings with counselors and usually after about 12 or 18 months the state attorney’s office will successfully decline a case if the person completes the program. As I said, that’s diversionary program also known as—It’s intertwined with the term called pretrial intervention program. Pretrial intervention program can be any misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of the case, and it’s kind of like driving a car down the road and rather than stay on the interstate, you decide to get off the interstate and take an exit. That’s basically the analogy of what a diversion program is, because at the end of the day, if you successfully completes a diversionary program, it results in the complete dismissal of the charges against you and assuming that you have no other criminal history, you might be eligible under Florida law to actually seal or expunge your case assuming that you have no other history, and that’s good because that would remove what most clients are concerned about is the removal of their mugshots from the sheriff’s website in the county in which they are arrested. And if you get your case sealed or expunged—which is a completely separate proceeding from the criminal case—you would be eligible to then get the mugshot off through a sealing or expungement process.