Section 12-23A-4

Establishment of drug court; participation; incentives and sanctions; components; drug court team and advisory committee; coordinator.

(a)(1) The presiding judge of each judicial circuit, with the consent of the district attorney of that judicial circuit, may establish a drug court or courts, under which drug offenders shall be processed, to appropriately address the identified substance abuse problem of the drug offender as a condition of pretrial release, pretrial diversion, probation, jail, prison, parole, community corrections, or other release or diversion from a correctional facility. The structure, method, and operation of each drug court may differ and should be based upon the specific needs of and resources available to the judicial district or circuit where the drug court is located, but shall be created and operate pursuant to this chapter and in compliance with rules promulgated by the Alabama Supreme Court.

(2) Nothing in this chapter shall affect the authority of the district attorney to establish a deferred prosecution program or a pretrial diversion program within his or her judicial circuit or affect his or her ability to nolle prosse a particular case. Notwithstanding the foregoing, all drug courts shall comply with this chapter and rules promulgated by the Alabama Supreme Court.

(b) Participation in drug court shall require the consent of the district attorney and the court and shall be pursuant to a written agreement. A drug offender may participate in a pre-adjudication, post-adjudication, reentry, probation violation, or combination program.

(c) The court may grant reasonable incentives under the written agreement if the court finds that the drug offender:

(1) Is performing satisfactorily in drug court.

(2) Is benefiting from education, treatment, and rehabilitation.

(3) Has not engaged in criminal conduct.

(4) Has not violated the terms and conditions of the agreement.

(d) The court may impose reasonable sanctions under the written agreement or may incarcerate or expel the offender from the program if the court finds that the drug offender:

(1) Is not performing satisfactorily in drug court.

(2) Is not benefiting from education, treatment, or rehabilitation.

(3) Has engaged in conduct rendering him or her unsuitable for the program.

(4) Has otherwise violated the terms and conditions of the agreement.

(5) Is for any reason unable to participate.

(e) Upon successful completion of drug court, a drug offender's case shall be disposed of by the judge in the manner prescribed by the agreement and by the applicable policies and procedures adopted by the drug court. This may include, but is not limited to, withholding criminal charges, nolle prosse of charges recommended by the district attorney, probation, deferred sentencing, suspended sentencing, split sentencing, or a reduced period of incarceration. Records of all such dispositions shall be maintained and be available to judges and prosecutors statewide. This provision shall not authorize the disclosure of youthful offender or juvenile records to the general public.

(f) Drug courts shall include all of the following ten key components, as defined by the United States Department of Justice, and the drug court team shall act to ensure compliance with each of the components:

(1) Integration of drug, alcohol, and other drug treatment or educational services with justice system case processing.

(2) Use of a non-adversarial approach, with prosecution and defense counsel promoting public safety while protecting the due process rights of drug offenders participating in the program.

(3) Early identification of drug offenders eligible to participate and prompt placement in the drug court program.

(4) Access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.

(5) Monitoring of abstinence by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.

(6) Adoption and implementation of a coordinated strategy which governs drug court responses to the compliance of drug offenders participating in the program.

(7) Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court of drug offenders participating in the program.

(8) Monitoring and evaluation to measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.

(9) Continuing interdisciplinary education to promote effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations.

(10) Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations to generate local support and enhance drug court effectiveness.

(g) Cases handled pursuant to this chapter shall be calendared on dedicated dockets, set aside from other criminal cases.

(h) Each local jurisdiction that intends to establish a drug court, or continue the operation of an existing drug court, shall establish a local drug court team and may also establish a local drug court advisory committee.

(i) The drug court team, when practicable, shall conduct a staff meeting prior to each drug court session to discuss and provide updated information regarding drug offenders. After determining their progress, or lack thereof, the drug court team shall agree on the appropriate incentive or sanction to be applied. If the drug court team cannot agree on the appropriate action, the court shall make the decision based on information presented in the staff meeting. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the authority of the district attorney to file a petition to remove the drug offender from the drug court program for good cause shown.

(j) Nothing contained in this chapter shall confer a right, or an expectation of a right, to participate in drug court, nor does it obligate the drug court to accept every drug offender. Neither the establishment of any drug court nor anything in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the discretion of the district attorney. Each drug court judge may establish rules and may make special orders and rules, as necessary, that do not conflict with this chapter or rules promulgated by the Alabama Supreme Court.

(k) A drug court coordinator shall be responsible for the general administration of drug court.

(l) Any agency charged with supervising a drug offender under drug court jurisdiction shall timely forward information to the drug court concerning the progress and compliance of the drug offender with any court imposed terms and conditions.

(Act 2010-754, p. 1909, §4.)