Drug Court

The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas has instituted a voluntary Adult Drug Court based on proven national research and program models. This Treatment Court targets primarily offenders who are ‘high risk/high needs’ through its evaluation process. This provides the participant an opportunity to pursue treatment for their addiction(s), while productively addressing associated legal problems.

The Lancaster County Adult Drug Court has two possible tracks:
  1. predisposition, or
  2. post sentence / probation violation
For participants whose cases are predisposition, sentencing will be deferred pending completion of the Drug Court program. Upon successful completion of the Drug Court program, including payments of fines, costs, and restitution, the participant’s charges may be reduced, dismissed, or the District Attorney’s Office will seek to expunge the pertinent charges as previously agreed, subject to Court approval.

For participants who are post-sentence / probation violation, successful completion of Drug Court may result in the reduction or termination of any remaining supervision; however these records cannot be expunged.

Once accepted, program participants can expect frequent contact with the Adult Drug Court Judge, Probation Officer, Treatment Providers, and the Drug Court Team. The Drug Court Program involves a minimum time commitment of twelve months, followed by a period of Aftercare. The length of the Aftercare component is based on the criminal charges for which the participant is being supervised, one year for misdemeanors and three years for felonies. Once the participant graduates from the Drug Court Program itself, including payment in full of all associated fines and costs, the criminal charges filed against the participant will be dismissed. After the participant successfully completes the Aftercare component, the District Attorney’s Office, will agree to seek to expunge the pertinent charges as previously agreed, subject to Court approval. For probation/parole violations, any remaining term of supervision the participant has may be terminated; however probation/parole violations cannot be expunged.

If the participant is accepted into the Adult Drug Court Program, the participant will be expected to participate in and complete numerous pro-social, treatment oriented activities. Typically, these include AA / NA meetings or approved alternatives, such as AlAnon, Nar-Anon, Step to Freedom, group and individual therapy, weekly court appearances, community service, probation appointments, and random drug testing. As each participant requires a different level of intervention based on need and progress, the participants’ specific needs may require the participant to be involved in other related activities.

As a participant, they can expect to receive a sanction if they violate the Adult Drug Court Program rules or fail to achieve certain Phase requirements. Typical violations that may be sanctioned include: missed appointments, failed or adulterated drug tests, new arrests/charges and lack of participation in treatment. Sanctions will be imposed relative to the violation, and progressive in nature. Sanctions may include: essays, loss of incentives, demotion in phase, fines, curfew restrictions, incarceration, and termination from the Adult Drug Court Program. The Adult Drug Court Team reserves the right to impose these and/or other sanctions appropriate to each particular participant and violation.

In turn, if the participant maintains purposeful and positive participation in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Adult Drug Court, the participant may receive appropriate incentives as well. These incentives will be determined by the Adult Drug Court Team and specific rewards will depend on available resources. Historically, this has included donated gift cards from area businesses as well as Drug Court Purchased Gift Cards made possible through donations.

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