Many crimes involve drug or alcohol-related offenses. As a result, the court recognizes that some offenders have underlying issues that may have substantially contributed to the crime. In those cases, rehabilitation often addresses the situation more effectively than punishment.

Collaborative courts, also known as problem-solving courts, offer sentences of rehabilitation and recovery programs instead of traditional punishment, such as jail time. Its purpose is to rehabilitate the person and reduce the likelihood of becoming a repeat offender.

If you have been charged with a drug or alcohol-related offense, you should contact an Orange County collaborative court lawyer today. Your skilled criminal defense attorney could fight to obtain rehabilitation treatment instead of the traditional criminal penalties associated with a conviction.

Advocating for Rehabilitation and Recovery

A program offered by a collaborative court requires a significant commitment but can be life-changing for the participant once they complete it. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry firmly believe in collaborative court programs because they can be a much more effective resolution than jail time. We strongly advocate for the rehabilitation and recovery of our clients who struggle with issues involving drugs and alcohol. Getting our clients into a collaborative court program is the first step toward recovery.

There are currently 12 collaborative court programs offered by the Orange County Superior Court. These include:

  • Adult Drug Court
  • DUI Court
  • Homeless Outreach Court
  • Opportunity Court
  • Recovery Court
  • Truancy Court
  • Veterans Court
  • WIT “Whatever It Takes” Court
  • Young Adult Court
  • Youth Development Court
  • Teen Court

These judicially-monitored programs involve a team approach and include assistance from probation and health treatment providers.

Adult Drug Court in Orange County

This collaborative court supervises the Orange County Adult Drug Court Program. This program includes four phases that a participant must complete in a minimum of 18 months. Only non-violent offenders who are charged with a crime substantially related to substance abuse are eligible for this program. An experienced lawyer in the area could assess your case and determine if you are eligible for this collaborative court program. The goals of the Adult Drug Court include:

  • To reduce drug use
  • To prevent repeat offenses
  • To achieve recovery through treatment and rehabilitation
  • To minimize the cost to taxpayers (treatment is much less expensive than incarceration)

Phase I

In phase I, the participant’s needs are assessed during an orientation. The participant and his or her team create an individualized treatment plan, which the participant must follow. Phase I is heavily monitored and regulated and lasts a minimum of 30 days. It includes regular drug testing, weekly group meetings, and frequent attendance of Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The participant needs to be employed or enrolled in an education program to move to Phase II.

Phase II

The treatment plan is reassessed and updated in Phase II. This phase attempts to address the most challenging issues for the participant and provides ways to cope with stressful situations without using drugs. Phase II still requires regular drug testing, weekly group meetings, and frequent attendance of Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Additionally, they must define employment or education goals and engage in sober social activities before moving to Phase III.

Phase III

Phase III focuses on returning the participant to society as a responsible, productive member. The phase must last at least 120 days and addresses daily living skills. As in the previous phases, Phase III requires participation in regular drug testing, weekly group meetings, and frequent attendance of Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The participant must also become a mentor to a new Adult Drug Court participant and complete community service outlined in the treatment plan.

Phase IV

The last of the phases is a minimum of 120 days long. Phase IV represents life outside of the program and requires drug testing and counseling, but to a lesser degree. When the participant completes the requirements of Phase IV they can graduate. A judge presides over the ceremony at the courthouse.

DUI Court

The DUI Court Program was developed to prevent repeat drinking and driving offenses. It is a 12-month program for a misdemeanor DUI and an 18-month program for a felony DUI. The program’s goal is to reduce repeated DUI offenses, create a safer community, and a healthier life for the offender. An assigned probation officer monitors the offender’s compliance with the program.

The DUI Court also uses a team approach. The team assesses the participant and creates a treatment plan. The plan includes either an outpatient program or residential treatment, depending upon the needs of the participant. DUI Court consists of the same four phases the Adult Drug Court consists of, and upon completion, the participant graduates from the program.

Veterans Court

The Veterans Court Program addresses the unique needs of veterans who have committed crimes. It provides a therapeutic alternative to those who suffer from mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Veterans Court combines drug and alcohol treatment with mental health treatment and collaborates with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Similar to Adult Drug Court and DUI Court, Veterans Court follows the same four phases. The participant is assigned a VA case manager and remains in the program for 18 months. Upon completion of the program, the participant graduates.

Other Types of Collaborative Court Programs

Orange County Courts designed the three following programs for offenders who suffer from chronic mental illness. A lawyer from our firm could review your case to determine if you are eligible for any of these collaborative court programs.

  • Opportunity Court Program is for non-violent drug offenders. Only individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive order, or bipolar disorder are eligible for this program.
  • Recovery Court Program is for non-violent misdemeanor offenders who suffer from chronic mental illness. Like the Opportunity Court Program, the participant must be diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive order, or bipolar disorder to be eligible.
  • WIT “Whatever It Takes” Court Program is for non-violent offenders who suffer from mental illness and are either homeless or at risk of being homeless. Only those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive order, or bipolar disorder are eligible. Participants are provided with mental health counseling, psychiatric services, substance abuse counseling, and family counseling.

Is a Collaborative Court Program Right for Me?

Collaborative court programs are highly supervised and require hard work, dedication, and commitment to sobriety and mental health. If you do not complete the program, it may result in harsher penalties. If you feel you may not be able to complete the program, it may not be the best option. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys could discuss the facts and circumstances of your case, answer any questions you may have, and help determine if a collaborative court program is right for you.

Speak with an Orange County Collaborative Court Attorney Today

If you suffer from drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or mental illness and are charged with a criminal offense, please call our office today for a free consultation. Our team of Orange County collaborative court lawyers is one of the most highly respected criminal defense firms in the area. We have extensive experience advocating for the rehabilitation and recovery of our clients. We genuinely want what is best for our clients, and we tirelessly fight to do anything within our power to achieve it.

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