Charleston Drug Court
The Charleston Drug Court program is an alternative to traditional sentencing of nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems. The program offers eligible offenders a 12-24 month intensive outpatient drug treatment program. Before entering the program, clients must plead guilty to at least one charge in General Sessions Court (however, a sentence is not imposed), and agree to mandatory prison if they do not successfully complete the program.
Why do It?
Charleston Drug Court provides help for those that are struggling with their addiction but it also provides relief, if successful, in that your charges are dismissed and can be expunged from your record. Importantly, the program has the support of the Charleston Police Department, see Charleston Police Chief’s Home Robbed.
Who runs drug court?
The Charleston County Drug Court program is run by a team consisting of a judge, director, treatment counselors, solicitor, public defenders, probation officer and staff.
How are you eligible?
Acceptable candidates have:
- Pending “nonviolent” charge(s) in Charleston County General Sessions Court where ALL the charges can be resolved in a single plea hearing are acceptable.
- The solicitor must approve drug distribution charge(s) first.
- No prior “violent crime” convictions, CDV, gun charges, ABHAN or burglary (Burg 3rd may not preclude).
- Transportation to/from treatment every week.
- Commitment and the ability to stay current and out of trouble on any other legal obligations.
Process for admission
- Your defense attorney fills out the application and submits it to the solicitor;
- The solicitor must approve the case for drug court submission;
- Defendant pays $100 assessment;
- Defendant attends assessment with treatment (Charleston Center counselor)
- The defendant enters a negotiated plea, which includes a prison sentence if the defendant fails the program.
Requirements for Charleston drug court
- Minimum of two AA/NA meetings a week;
- $25 payment a week;
- Proof of work (paystub);
- Random drug tests;
- 2 x counseling sessions a week (minimum);
- Court appearance every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m..
- No threats towards other participants in the program;
- Graduated sanctions (essays, jail, additional community service).
What happens when you are successful
- Commencement ceremony;
- Guilty plea withdrawn and charges dismissed (expungement rules apply).
- Return to court and get negotiated sentence imposed.