Many people arrested for drug crimes are fighting addictions. If you are charged with a drug crime in Allegheny County, one of your options is to take a drug diversion program as an alternative to jail. However, you must qualify for this program – it’s not an automatic entry.
The County’s Drug Court Program was created to place drug users in an intensive treatment program instead of prison, so they can become drug-free. If you qualify, a criminal defense attorney at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC could help you get accepted into a drug diversion program.
Am I Eligible for PA Drug Court?
Not every person charged with a drug-related offense will be eligible for Pennsylvania drug court or a drug diversion program. Prior convictions and the nature of the crime you’re charged with will be considered when determining eligibility.
The District Attorney’s office makes the final decision on whether you can enter the county’s drug diversion program. Your defense attorney will be able to help you find out if you are eligible for acceptance.
Your drug charge defense lawyer can also help you decide if the Drug Court would be a good choice for you. If you choose to enter the drug diversion program and meet the requirements, your attorney can work with prosecutors to ensure that you are considered.
What to Expect From Your Drug Diversion Program in PA
If you are a good candidate for a drug diversion program, then the prosecuting attorney will make an initial offer to you at your pre-trial. After the offer, you will be interviewed by a Drug Court specialist who will give you a Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria drug and alcohol evaluation. The specialist will then recommend your treatment facility and level of care.
It is important to note that if you hope to move forward with a Pennsylvania drug diversion program, you will need to be prepared to plead guilty to the charges against you and complete all of the treatment requirements specified.
Terms of PA Drug Diversion Programs
After you have been accepted to a drug diversion program, you will need to be prepared to plead guilty to all the charges against you.
If you were sentenced to a residential treatment program, you might be required to enter your assigned residential treatment facility on the day after your plea. After completing your residential program, you may have to wear electronic monitoring for the probation part of your sentence.
If your sentence is for outpatient care, you may be put on electronic monitoring on the day of your plea. While you are in the diversion program, you can expect to have to:
- Complete all your treatment requirements
- Attend Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings
- Stay clean and sober
- Comply with your house arrest schedule
- Get a job and/or go to school
After completing all program requirements, you will be stepped down to six-month probation that includes supervision and urine tests as well as continued attendance at AA/NA meetings.
You will be discharged and released from your sentence when you complete your probation.
Pennsylvania Diversion Programs
If you are interested in participating in a drug diversion program in Pennsylvania, here are a few options:
- Allegheny County Drug Diversion Program
- Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion
- Pittsburgh Pre-Arrest Diversion Program
- HOPE Adult Diversion Program
- Allegheny County Veterans Court
These are just a few of the programs that are relevant to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. If you are interested in participating in a drug diversion program elsewhere in Pennsylvania, be sure to contact our office for additional options across the state.
Pennsylvania Drug Court & Drug Diversion Program FAQ
We have answered some of the more common questions surrounding drug diversion programs and Pennsylvania drug court below. If you have additional questions that have not been answered on this page, be sure to contact our office to discuss your specific concerns further.
What are the Benefits of Drug Diversion Programs in PA?
The benefits of entering a drug diversion program are undeniable. When you are struggling with criminal charges related to substance abuse, you may benefit more from getting the medical treatment and mental health counseling you need to overcome your substance-abuse issues.
Jail and other criminal penalties may just put you in a vicious cycle of reoffending instead of dealing with the root cause of your offense.
What Happens if You Get Kicked Out of a PA Drug Diversion Program?
If you don’t comply with the conditions of your drug diversion program, you risk being sent to jail for three to 30 days, along with other penalties.
Furthermore, you might not be able to have your case heard in PA drug court or to participate in a drug diversion program.
What are the 4 Phases of Drug Court?
The phases of drug court are as follows:
- Initial treatment assessment
- Screening for other needs
To finish your drug diversion program, you will need to complete all the terms included in the drug court phases. This might involve attending weekly court hearings, submitting to drug or alcohol testing, and completing other requirements depending on the specific details of your case.