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The different types of drug treatment courts in New York

A strong criminal defense strategy when faced with drug charges could help the accused get the charges reduced or dismissed, but there are also programs that are available that the accused could voluntarily enter into that could help them dismiss the charges or reduce the penalties they will face. In New York, there are currently 141 drug courts operating in the state. Of those, 89 are in the criminal courts, 33 are in the family court, four are in the town and village courts and 15 are in the juvenile system. If a defendant seeks to participate in a drug treatment court, it is important to understand the different types of drug treatment courts and drug diversion programs available in order to establish eligibility.

If a defendant is facing felony or misdemeanor charges and drug addiction is a component of the offense, that defendant might be eligible to participate in a criminal Drug Treatment Court program. If the accused successfully completes the program, they might have their charges dismissed or receive a reduced sentence.

Family drug treatment courts are available for defendants facing neglect petitions where substance abuse is a component of the allegations. The successful completion of the program is likely to result in the defendant being reunited with their children. Moreover, participants in the program who are successful are often provided more liberal contact with their children prior to their graduation from the program.

Lastly, juvenile drug treatment courts are available for juveniles facing either juvenile delinquency or Person In Need of Supervision, or PINS, petitions in the family court and substance abuse is some component of the pending petition. Successful participation in the program is likely to result in the dismissal of the pending petition.

Facing drug charges can be a very emotional and life changing event. However, those accused of such a crime may have options available to them. Drug diversion programs may be viable options to anyone accused of a drug crime.

Source: Nycourts.gov, "Drug Treatment Courts," accessed Feb. 7, 2016

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