While states, such as California, Nevada, and Colorado have legalized marijuana possession, that is not the case in Texas. If you’re caught with two ounces or less of marijuana, you’d face misdemeanor charges, up to 6 months in jail, and up to a $2,000 fine.
“Drug enforcement in this county is very, very no-tolerance,” David Waddill, Collin County’s first assistant district attorney told the Dallas Morning News in 2011.
The penalties for felony DWI and drug possession are quite severe in Texas, but Collin County’s DWI/Drug Court Program allows qualifying individuals who successful complete the program to wipe their record clean.
When qualifying participants successfully complete the one-year, post-conviction program, which includes community service and random drug testing – their arrest documents are shredded and their electronic records deleted.
The diversion program was an initiative of District Attorney Greg Willis, who took office in January of 2011. Waddill told the Dallas Morning News that the purpose of the program was to give some of our young people a second chance. “It’s really to keep a stupid mistake off their record,” said Waddill. “A lot of kids just need a wake-up call.”
While the program is for adults of all ages, about three-fourths of the program’s participants are in their teens and 20s, according to Waddill. Many defense attorneys feel that the program is a wonderful. There are a lot of requirements, but since it allows a defendant to get their felony dismissed, it’s definitely worth it.
For 12th graders facing possession charges, they can get kicked out of school, they can get kicked off football, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading teams. Sometimes they have to transfer to an alternative school, and drug charges can mess up an 18 or 19-year-old’s chances of attending a good college.
Qualifying for the Program
The DWI/Drug Court Program was created for individuals who are charged with felony DWI or drug offenses. The program is not for everyone and you have to be “accepted” into it. The program is rigorous and requires that participants stop drinking and doing drugs – they also have to be willing to follow the rules.
The DWI/Drug court involves:
- A substance abuse evaluation
- Frequent court appearances
- Random drug testing
- Unscheduled home visits from police officers or members of the drug court team
- Group and individual drug/alcohol treatment
- Other programs and services that are deemed appropriate
There are numerous benefits to completing the Felony DWI/Drug Court Program, for example, you may save thousands in fines. If your driver’s license was suspended by the court, you may be allowed to have an occupational license that allows you to drive to and from work. If you were ordered to perform community service, it may be waived so you can focus on counseling and support meetings.
Please note: To successfully complete the program, you must participate in every aspect of the treatment recommended for you specifically. If you are not willing to follow the recommendations made by a counselor, you should not try to enter the program.
Not everyone qualifies for the program and admittance is not guaranteed, even if you’re a first-time non-violent offender. For a defendant to be accepted, the district attorney’s office must believe that the he or she will respect authority and follow the rules.
The district attorney’s office is looking to see if the defendant is a risk to the community, is associated with known criminals, or has a long history of drug or alcohol abuse – those types of red flags. If the defendant has honest intentions and learned their lesson, then everybody wins.
If you are interested in learning about Collin County’s Felony DWI/Drug Court Program, contact our firm to speak with a Plano criminal defense lawyer!