In Texas, there are alternative programs available to drug offenders other than fines or prison time but these are typically only available for first-time drug offenders.
Alternatives vary across jurisdictions and are not available for serious drug offenses like trafficking.
For instance, Tarrant County has a first offender drug program that is a limited-supervision program that would be considered to be a “self-corrector.”
On its website, the program says the following offenses may be eligible for the program.
An applicant for the program must only have committed a Class C misdemeanor and cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication.
Tarrant County also has the DIRECT Court Program. This is post-plea felony probation rather than a diversion program. Potential participants must meet strict legal and clinical criteria in order to transfer their case into the DIRECT Court Program.
The DIRECT program can help defendants remain sober and drug-free, while helping cleaning up their case and keeping their record clean.
DIRECT is short for Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment. It is only available for non-violent offenders. A defendant who is accepted into the DIRECT Drug Court Program goes through an intensive probation. Successful completion of the DIRECT program could result in the defendant avoiding prison time, and even receiving a shortened probation sentence.
Attendance is monitored by Community Supervision Officers who are assigned to the DIRECT Court Program. They carry out frequent tests like urine testing for drugs to make sure offenders are meeting the rules of the program.
Texas has had drugs courts that deal with low level drug offenders in a different way for more than a decade-and-a-half.
Drug courts were ushered in by a law in 2001 that mandated all jurisdictions in Texas with more than 550,000 people to apply for federal and other funds for drug courts.
Drug courts are mandatory in Tarrant County, Travis, Harris, Hidalgo, El Paso, and Bexar Counties.
The courts take non-violent offenders and sentence them to programs intended to tackle their addiction issues rather than to punish them.
If you have been arrested on a drugs charge in Texas, it’s vital to explore the alternatives as soon as possible. Call our experienced Tarrant County criminal defense lawyers today.