Felony Drug Court Divisions in Broward County

In Broward County, FL, an individual is limited to two (2) cases for entry into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment program. This rule was created to provide as many individuals as possible with an opportunity to participate in drug court programs while recognizing the resource limitations.  

Entry into the felony drug court is voluntary and subject to funding for pretrial and post adjudicatory programs. A defendant who elects not to enter into felony drug court or pleads to probation without treatment will be transferred to the originally assigned circuit criminal division by the drug court division judge.

Attorneys for Felony Drug Court in Broward County, FL

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. help individuals decide whether to enter drug court or ask to have the case transferred to a trial division so that motions can be filed and the charges can be fought through pre-trial motions or at trial. For individuals that need drug treatment and are ready to get help, the felony drug court division can provide excellent resources for people that want to overcome a substance abuse issue.

Call the drug defense attorneys in Broward County, FL, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. During the initial consultation, we cna discuss any drug charges you have pending in Broward County, FL. We represent clients throughout Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Hollywood and Deerfield Beach, FL.

We also represent juveniles who are considering entering drug court in juvenile court in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Call (954) 716-8538 to discuss your case today.


Cases Eligible for Transfer to Broward County's Felony Drug Court

The types of cases eligible for transfer to the felony drug court divisions generally include:

  • defendants eligible for a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program as authorized by §948.08(6), Fla. Stat., or
  • defendants who enter pleas, receive eighteen (18) months probation and agree to a substance abuse treatment program, or
  • defendants referred by another circuit criminal judge for drug court monitoring.

If the defendant has not completed probation and a substance abuse education and treatment intervention program within two (2) years after commencement of probation, the case will be transferred, as long as there is no order extending treatment, from a drug court division to the originally assigned circuit criminal division by the drug court division judge.

The Clerk of Court randomly assigns transferred cases to the drug court divisions.

If a case is transferred to drug court from another circuit criminal division for drug court monitoring and if the defendant is then charged with a violation of probation or arrested and prosecution commenced for a felony not set forth in §948.08(6), Fla. Stat., the case will be transferred back to the originally assigned circuit criminal division for proceedings with regard to the violation of probation or additionally filed charges.


Pretrial Substance Abuse Intervention Program in Broward County

The Broward Sheriff's Office of Pretrial Services expeditiously interviews people on a daily basis when those people are in custody. The purpose of the interview is to preliminarily determine eligibility to participate in a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program.

Pretrial services will typically inform the First Appearance Judge if the individual is eligible to participate in a pretrial drug court program. The First Appearance Judge may order the arrestee into the drug court pretrial release program offered by the Broward Sheriff’s Office if the conditions set forth at §948.08(2), Fla,. Stat., are met.

In addition to any other conditions of participation imposed by the Broward Sheriff's Office of Pretrial Services drug court program, the following conditions are also imposed:

  • The defendant must immediately report to and attend the Drug Court Treatment Program as directed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office of Pretrial Services; and
  • The individual must personally appear at all court hearings as instructed by the Broward Sheriff's Office of Pretrial Services officer and/or counselor.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office of Pretrial Services will furnish on a weekly basis to the Department of Corrections, a list of the individuals preliminarily determined to be eligible for pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program and on pretrial release together with the applicable booking sheet, probable cause affidavit, criminal records investigation report, and pretrial drug court release order.

If an arrested individual posts a cash or surety bond, the Broward Sheriff’s Office of Pretrial Services will review the criminal history if the arrest was for a qualifying charge and may be eligible for a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program.

To expedite and encourage immediate participation by an individual released from jail on bond, the Broward Sheriff’s Office of Pretrial Services will notify the arrested individual of the possibility of participating in the drug court pretrial substance abuse

The Broward Sheriff’s Office of Pretrial Services will advise the Clerk of Circuit Court the cases where the defendant is out on bond or in his pretrial release program that shall be set in a drug court division for arraignment and/or judicial determination of eligibility to participate in the drug court program.


Opting into the Pretrial Substance Abuse Intervention Program

At the arraignment or pretrial determination, the defendant might have the option to:

  • Opt into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program; or
  • Opt out of a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program with his or her case transferred to a non drug court circuit criminal division for an additional arraignment and further proceedings.

Participation Requirements for Pretrial Substance Abuse Intervention Program

The participation requirements for a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program are:

  • A minimum of one (1) year and no more than eighteen (18) months attendance at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program.
  • Substantial compliance with all terms of the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program; all orders of the court including attendance at all status hearings;
  • the rules and regulations of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program;
  • and the rules and regulations of the Department of Corrections.

One Year Status Conference in Broward County's Drug Courts

At the one (1) year anniversary of entry into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program the court shall conduct a status conference and determine if:

  • The defendant successfully completed all terms and conditions of the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program.
  • The defendant is successfully finishing all terms and conditions of the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program and will complete same within the next six (6) months.
  • The defendant did not successfully complete all terms and conditions of the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program and will not complete same within the next six (6) months.
  • The court may determine if there are extraordinary circumstances and order continued treatment.

If a defendant opts in, he or she shall execute an agreement to comply with the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program and all pretrial intervention requirements of the Florida Department of Corrections. The pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program may require residential treatment.


Eighteen Month Status Conference in Broward County's Drug Court

At the eighteen (18) month anniversary of entry into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program the court shall conduct a status conference and determine if the defendant did or did not successfully complete the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program.

If the defendant did not successfully complete the pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program, absent extraordinary circumstances, the case shall be transferred to the originally assigned circuit criminal division for all future hearings.


Pretrial Intervention Pilot Project in Broward County, FL

The Pretrial Intervention Pilot Project is a program that is limited to forty (40) defendants who are identified as having a substance abuse problem or substance addiction, meet the requirements for pretrial intervention, and

  • are charged with non-violent third degree felony offenses as provided in Chapter 810, Fla. Stat., or
  • are charged with an offense that is not a forcible felony as defined in §776.08, Fla. Stat.

In an effort to provide as many individuals as possible with an opportunity to participate in the pretrial intervention pilot project and due to resource limitations, an individual is limited to one second qualifying case if it is a drug offense within the provisions of §948.08(6), Fla. Stat.

The initial forty (40) defendants participating in the pretrial intervention pilot project will be selected as follows:

  • cases currently transferred to a drug court division for which an assessment is being conducted to determine if the individual has a substance abuse problem or substance addiction; or
  • upon request of the defendant for cases pending in a criminal division upon completion of screening to determine if the individual has a substance abuse problem or substance addiction and agreement of the criminal division judge.

The judge assigned to a drug court division shall order a professional substance abuse/addiction assessment at the defendant's first hearing in the division and reset the defendant for a hearing to determine attendance at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program as determined by the drug court division judge.

If a victim of the crime for which the defendant is charged is entitled to restitution, the defendant must agree to pay restitution and complete payment by the time he or she completes the pretrial intervention pilot project. The agreement to enter the pretrial intervention pilot project will contain a provision for restitution and a payment plan.

The judge may extend participation in the pretrial intervention pilot project for the defendant to complete payment of restitution to the victim.

The Drug Court Manager shall separately track the individuals in the pretrial intervention pilot project and advise the Administrative Judge of the Circuit


Post Adjudicatory Pilot Expansion Project in Broward County, FL

The Post Adjudicatory Pilot Expansion Project is a program is limited to three hundred fifty (350) defendants who are identified as having a substance abuse problem or substance addiction, meet the requirements for a post adjudicatory drug court program, and qualify pursuant to §§397.334 or 948.01, Fla. Stat.

The criminal division judge to whom the case is assigned shall direct the defendant seeking entry into the post adjudicatory pilot expansion project to complete a screening assessment to determine if the defendant has a substance abuse problem or substance addiction. The criminal division judge upon receipt of the screening assessment, review of the defendant’s criminal history, and sentencing score sheet may transfer the case to a drug court division in lieu of sentencing the defendant to prison after imposing all conditions of probation which shall include the

The criminal division judge upon receipt of the screening assessment, review of the defendant's criminal history, and sentencing score sheet may transfer the case to a drug court division in lieu of sentencing the defendant to prison after imposing all conditions of probation which shall include the post adjudicatory probation requirements as set forth herein.

The judge assigned to a drug court division wll order a professional substance abuse/addiction assessment at the defendant's first hearing in the division and reset the defendant for a hearing to determine attendance at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program as determined by the drug court division judge.


Post Adjudicatory Drug Court in Broward County, FL

The participation requirements for the drug court program are:

  • A maximum of twenty four (24) months attendance at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program; 
  • Substantial compliance with:
    • all terms of probation;
    • all orders of the court including attendance at status hearings;
    • the rules and regulations of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Treatment Program or approved alternative treatment program; and
    • the rules and regulations of the Department of Corrections; 
  • At the one (1) year anniversary of the order of probation the court shall conduct a status conference and determine if:
    • The defendant successfully completed all terms and conditions of probation;
    • The defendant is successfully finishing all terms and conditions of probation and will complete same within the next twelve (12) months;
    • The defendant did not successfully complete all terms and conditions of probation and will not complete same within the next twelve (12) months. The court may determine if there are extraordinary circumstances and order continued treatment.

At the second anniversary of probation the court shall conduct a status conference and determine if the defendant did or did not successfully complete the drug court program.

If the defendant did not successfully complete the drug court program, absent extraordinary circumstances and an order extending treatment, the case shall be transferred to the originally assigned circuit criminal division by the Clerk of Court for all future hearings based upon the defendant’s failure to successfully complete a post adjudicatory drug court program .

A defendant may seek early termination of probation upon successful completion of a post adjudicatory drug court program.


Discharge from Drug Court in Broward County, FL

A defendant participating in a drug court program will be terminated from drug court if:

  • there is an outstanding capias for a period of six (6) months for an individual in a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program;
  • there is an outstanding capias for a period of three (3) months for an individual in a post adjudicatory drug court program; or
  • new felony criminal charges are filed other than drug crimes encompassed within the provisions of §948.08(6), Fla. Stat.; or
  • violation of probation not encompassed within the provisions of §948.08(6), Fla. Stat.

This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2017.

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