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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania has a unique Drug Court Program that has truly saved the lives of many of my clients over the years. The Montgomery County Drug Court Program is a diversionary program available for non-violent offenders who have committed a crime as a result of a legitimate drug (or alcohol) addiction. People charged with possession with intent to deliver (drug dealing) are generally not admitted into the Montgomery County Pennsylvania Drug Court Program.
To discuss your options when facing criminal, drug crime or DUI charges contact Norristown Drug Crime Defense Attorney Erik Petersen. He offers free case evaluations and serves those facing criminal and DUI charges in all of Montgomery County.
A diversion (or diversionary) program is a type of sentence that permits people to be held accountable for their actions without subjecting them to a permanent criminal conviction. Diversionary programs have become more prevalent in recent years as more people recognize how devastating a criminal conviction can be to a young person trying to develop a career.
The Montgomery County Drug Court Program is a diversionary program, meaning that if a person successfully completes the program the charges are dismissed. Once charges are dismissed, the entire incident can be expunged from the criminal record as if the person had never been criminal charged at all.
I have helped many people get into the Montgomery County Drug Court Program. Please contact the Law Office of Erik Petersen so that we can review your case and discuss your rights and options.
Many people charged with a crime have an addiction issue that is the cause of their legal problems. For years, the “knee jerk” response to virtually all crimes has been to punish the offenders and then release them back into society. The problem with this model is that it fails to attack the underlying cause of the problem. Addictions to do just go away, and people who are simply punished and then released are very likely to re-offend and wind up back in the criminal justice system.
Programs such as Montgomery County Drug Court Program are designed to help people address and achieve recovery from their addictions. This can accomplish the dual objective of holding people accountable while actually helping them in their recovery and keeping them out of jail (where so many people truly do not belong). The alternative to programs like Drug Court is to continue building bigger prisons and denying people a second chance to build a career and live a productive, crime-free life.
The Montgomery County Drug Court Program is available for otherwise good, non-violent people who are charged with a crime as a result of a legitimate drug problem. The theory behind Drug Court is that some people that commit crimes do so because of their drug addiction and not because they are destined to become life-long criminals.
I have seen many cases where a person becomes addicted to drugs and literally changes overnight from the person his or her family and friends have known and loved over the years. The person becomes totally focused on “getting the next high” — frequently at the expense of his or her job, family and lifelong friends.
These are often good people who need drug treatment — not extended time in jail with a permanent criminal record. I have represented people who completed Drug Court and emerged from the experience to lead productive, law-abiding lives and re-kindle positive relationships with their family and friends. Some of these people have later told me that Drug Court literally saved their lives.
No one has an absolutely right to be admitted into Drug Court. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office must agree to recommend you for Drug Court and the judge and probation department must agree that you are a suitable candidate. Any of these parties (the judge, prosecutor and probation department) essentially has the power to deny a person’s admission into Drug Court.
Drug Court is not easy and requires a significant effort and expenditure of time. For many people, however, it is far better than jail and/or a permanent criminal record.
The basic qualifications for Drug Court are:
• You must be charged with a non-violent offense
• You must have a legitimate drug problem (as opposed to simply trying to avoid
• You must demonstrate that you are amenable to treatment (that is, that you truly
• You may not have a prior conviction involving violence
• You must be a Montgomery County resident (or demonstrate that you are about
• You must agree to waive your “Speedy Trial Rights”
If a person meets these basic qualifications, he or she may be considered for admission into the Montgomery County Drug Court Program. However it is important to note that no one automatically qualifies for Drug Court. Only a certain number of participants are permitted in the Drug Court program and, essentially, you have to demonstrate that you are more worthy of Drug Court (that is, more likely to succeed) than other applicants.
If you feel that Drug Court could be the best for you or your loved one, contact me, Montgomery County Defense Lawyer Erik Petersen. I have represented many people who entered — and successfully completed — the Drug Court Program and whose lives were completely changed as a result.
Drug Court is a highly-regimented program that involves hands-on treatment, frequent drug tests and numerous court appearances where the person literally has a conversation with the judge in open court. The judge will know — from these conversations and from probation officer reports — whether the person is “staying clean” and making positive life decisions.
One of the good things about Drug Court is that a “relapse” does not necessarily mean that the person is removed from the program. The Drug Court program basically recognizes that recovery can be a bumpy ride, and that with certain people, a relapse does not mean that he or she is incapable of recovery.
I have represented many people who got into Montgomery County Drug Court Program and were caught using drugs or violated a rule of the program. Such violations are certainly punished (frequently with prison sentences ranging from 24 hours to a month), but the person is not necessarily removed from the program. This is one way the Drug Court program holds people accountable in a realistic and reasonable way, without automatically giving up on a participant who experiences a “bump” on the road to recovery.
For the most part, Drug Court is not available for people charged with committing violent offenses or major drug crimes (such as possession with intent to deliver). Drug Court may be available for people charged with the following offenses:
• Drug Offenses such as Possession or Paraphernalia offenses (or felony drug charges for which the District Attorney’s Office agrees to make an exception to the general rule);
• Retail Theft and other Theft offenses;
• Prescription Fraud;
• Access Device Fraud
I am a former Montgomery County, Pennsylvania prosecutor and am now a criminal defense attorney who has been on both sides of the law and has seen many people go through the criminal justice system because of addiction problems.
I firmly believe that there are people who can benefit from programs such as the Montgomery County Drug Court Program. And, I am convinced these programs benefit society as a whole (and not just the participants) because it allows people the opportunity to fight their addiction problems and emerge from a bad situation with the skills and ability to pursue a positive future without a criminal record.
I am certainly willing to discuss with you whether the Montgomery County, PA Drug Court Program may be the right option for you or your loved one. Please feel free to contact the Law Office of Erik Petersen to discuss your options.
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