New Jersey has a drug court program designed to keep offenders out of the criminal justice system and free from illegal substances. You may be eligible as a resident of Essex County who faces charges related to a diagnosis of substance use disorder.
Review the eligibility and completion requirements for this New Jersey sentencing diversion program.
Drug court qualifications
You can apply for the drug court program with an assessment of moderate to severe substance use disorder. If your addiction screening shows eligibility, the prosecutor will determine whether you have court eligibility. You cannot enroll in drug court with a history of violent offenses. You must have a pending criminal charge for driving under the influence or another substance-related offense.
Drug court lasts two years as you move through four phases of treatment. To graduate from each phase and move to the next, you must complete the court reporting, clinical and probation requirements. This includes either outpatient or residential substance use treatment and regular drug screens. You also have to attend support group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous.
Benefits of drug court
In addition to treatment for addiction, your probation team will help you earn or regain your driver’s license, seek employment, and pursue your educational goals. Some participants in the drug court program may qualify for criminal record expungement.
According to an April 2021 report, nearly 7,000 individuals have successfully graduated from drug court in New Jersey, 88% of whom had a job when they completed the program. Fewer than 6% of graduates receive new criminal convictions and only about 2% receive another prison sentence in the three years after program completion.