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How are Maryland’s traditional courts different from drug ones?

| Apr 17, 2020 | Drug Charges

Maryland is one of many states that offers drug defendants an opportunity to have their case adjudicated via either the traditional or drug court system. Defendants wishing to participate in the latter meet certain eligibility requirements to do so. There are various pros and cons associated with each system.

The traditional and drug court systems have two distinct goals. The former aims to administer “legal justice” whereas the latter is focused on turning the defendant back into a positive and productive citizen.

Traditional courts tend to have a more adversarial tone whereas the drug ones are more collaborative.

There’s often a judge, prosecutors, attorneys and defendants involved in traditional cases within the traditional court system. They each have their own end goals. The individuals that form the drug court team encourage the defendant to get their life on track.

Another marked difference between the traditional and drug court systems is how involved the court is in the defendant’s life.

Maryland judges tend to have limited involvement in overseeing a convicted defendant’s life. The court generally orders them to complete virtually any drug treatment program.

If a defendant who’s having their case adjudicated via the traditional court system relapses on drugs, then they’re often held on a probation violation or charged with a new crime. This frequently results in the defendant being sentenced to additional time in jail.

Drug courts operate much differently from traditional ones at least as far as the court’s involvement in the defendant’s life is concerned. Maryland judges generally take time to choose a treatment program that will address the specific needs of the defendant. This often results in them being placed in more structured or intensive programs.

The judge keeps tabs on how well the defendant is doing while they’re participating in rehab and may impose graduated sanctions if the participant fails to comply with the court’s terms and conditions.

It’s a privilege for a defendant to be allowed to participate in a drug court instead of a more traditional program. They must demonstrate that they’re eager to overcome their dependency on illicit substances and that they have every intention of leading a productive life. An attorney can aid you in trying to convince a Gaithersburg judge of your worthiness to be allowed to participate in one of these programs versus another.