Mandatory Drug Court
In 2012, the New Jersey Drug Court grew through a $2.5 million pilot program in three counties. This expanded the crimes that can be considered for drug court eligibility. Additionally, this made drug court mandatory for non-violent drug offenders. Furthermore, drug court costs less than imprisonment. Indeed, the state spends $42,000 annually per prison inmate. Drug courts, however, cost $11,300 per inmate, as reported by The Star Ledger.
Under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, every defendant must apply for Special Probation (Drug Court) if:
- the defendant may be a drug dependent person;
- the charge(s):
- carry a presumption of imprisonment; or
- are third degree for a defendant with a prior conviction of a crime subject to the presumption of imprisonment or that resulted in a State prison term; and
- the defendant is eligible for a special probation sentence.
Who Is A “Drug Dependent Person?”
Any of the following circumstances provide a reasonable basis to believe that a person may be drug dependent:
- the present offense involves a controlled dangerous substance;
- the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense involving a controlled dangerous substance, was admitted to pretrial intervention or supervisory treatment, or received a conditional discharge for a charge involving a controlled dangerous substance;
- defendant has any other pending charge in this State, any other state, or a federal court involving a controlled dangerous substance;
- the defendant has any time previously received any form of drug treatment or counseling;
- defendant appears to have been under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance during the commission of the present offense, or it reasonably appears that the present offense may have been committed to acquire property or monies to purchase a controlled dangerous substance for the defendant’s personal use;
- the defendant admits to the unlawful use of a controlled dangerous substance within the year preceding the arrest for the present offense;
- defendant has had a positive drug test within the last 12 months; or
- information, other than the above circumstances, which indicates the defendant may be a drug dependent person or would otherwise benefit by undergoing a professional diagnostic assessment.