Criminal offenses in Florida can lead to serious penalties, whether it’s
a misdemeanor or felony offense. A conviction is punishable by a long
jail or prison sentence, costly fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.
Since most crimes are committed by first-time offenders or those dealing
with mental or substance abuse issues, the state courts understand that
many individuals are not seasoned criminals and offer various “pretrial
services” to help rehabilitate defendants, rather than penalize
them. When a person completes a pretrial diversion program, their criminal
case will be dismissed, and their criminal record will be expunged—without
having to serve time behind bars.
In this blog series,
The Law Offices of Robert Stepniak will discuss the available pretrial diversion programs in Volusia County.
Keep in mind, similar programs are available in all county courts.
Drug Court Program
The Drug Court Program operates in Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, and Putnam
counties. Non-violent offenders (misdemeanor or felony possession) with
a history of substance abuse are eligible for this program. However, defendants
charged with sale or distribution of drugs—or possession with intent
to sell or distribute—are not eligible.
Each participant must adhere to the rules of the programs, the court orders
by the judge, the treatment plan developed by their treatment counselor.
The program itself may be completed in one year or longer, especially
if addiction is difficult to overcome.
The following are requirements each participant must fulfill in the Drug
- Attend all court hearings
- Attend all individual or group sessions with your counselor
- Attend all support groups and self-help meetings
- Complete ancillary services (e.g. mental health counseling, family counseling,
medication, residential treatment, etc.)
- Remain employed or in school
- Meet with your probation officer
- Be subject to random drug testing
- Make payments toward your treatment plan (however, incentives are available
to lower costs)
Although the main benefits are avoiding a lengthy jail or prison term,
receiving early termination from probation, and getting the criminal charges
dismissed, other benefits include living a life that is drug-free and
becoming a productive member of society.
Remember, failure to complete the program or committing a violation can
result in having to serve your original sentence.
On the next edition of this series, we will discuss the Volusia County
For more information about the Drug Court Program,
contact the Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today and request a free consultation.