What makes drug crime court different than a traditional court?

If you are facing criminal allegations for drug crimes in Maryland, your case may have been sent to a special drug court. The Drug Treatment Court Commission was created in October 2003 by judicial order, and it has been assisting certain types of defendants ever since. Drug courts are designed to help and rehabilitate those who are accused of drug offenses, rather than offering a serious punitive model like most traditional courtroom environments.

In drug court, your legal team and the court itself are working together to achieve a comprehensive goal of restoring you to society without ongoing criminal behavior. The idea behind drug court is to rehabilitate, not to reach “legal justice” like that sought in traditional court. Individualized drug treatment programs are provided, and relapses are subject to graduated sanctions rather than being considered an entirely new crime.

Drug court is not a given for individuals who are facing drug offenses. Only a certain percentage of defendants accused of specific types of crime may be eligible for this special type of courtroom proceeding. This collaborative proceeding is non-adversarial and is guided by group decisions, including input from judges and defense attorneys alike. Experts say that drug courts provide a “comprehensive approach” to reducing drug crime by helping defendants recover rather than punishing them.

Not every criminal defendant deserves to have the book thrown at them in response to their alleged drug offenses. In fact, sometimes serious consequences do more harm than good for those accused of drug possession. Drug diversion programs and other drug court options provide fair, just alternatives to the rigorous standards imposed in a traditional criminal courtroom.

Source: Maryland Courts, “Drug Treatment Courts” Aug. 04, 2014