2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 15-1-15 - Drug court divisions; assignment of cases; planning groups and work plans; standards; staffing and expenses; completion of drug court division programs; provision of relevant records; fees; grants and donations

O.C.G.A. 15-1-15 (2010)
15-1-15. Drug court divisions; assignment of cases; planning groups and work plans; standards; staffing and expenses; completion of drug court division programs; provision of relevant records; fees; grants and donations


(a)(1) Any court that has jurisdiction over any criminal case which arises from the use, sale, possession, delivery, distribution, purchase, or manufacture of a controlled substance, noncontrolled substance, dangerous drug, or other drug may establish a drug court division to provide an alternative to the traditional judicial system for disposition of such cases.

(2) In any case which arises from the use, addiction, dependency, sale, possession, delivery, distribution, purchase, or manufacture of a controlled substance, noncontrolled substance, dangerous drug, or other drug or is ancillary to such conduct and the defendant meets the eligibility criteria for the drug court division, the court may assign the case to the drug court division:

(A) Prior to the entry of the sentence, if the prosecuting attorney consents;

(B) As part of a sentence in a case; or

(C) Upon consideration of a petition to revoke probation.

(3) Each drug court division shall establish a planning group to develop a work plan. The planning group shall include the judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, probation officers, and persons having expertise in the field of substance abuse. The work plan shall address the operational, coordination, resource, information management, and evaluation needs of the drug court division. The work plan shall include eligibility criteria for the drug court division. The drug court division shall combine judicial supervision, treatment of drug court division participants, and drug testing.

(4) The Judicial Council of Georgia shall adopt standards for the drug court divisions. Each drug court division shall adopt standards that are consistent with the standards of the Judicial Council of Georgia. The standards are to serve as a flexible framework for developing effective drug court divisions and to provide a structure for conducting research and evaluation for program accountability. The standards are not intended to be a certification or regulatory checklist.

(5) The court instituting the drug court division may request the prosecuting attorney for the jurisdiction to designate one or more prosecuting attorneys to serve in the drug court division and may request the public defender, if any, to designate one or more assistant public defenders to serve in the drug court division.

(6) The clerk of the court instituting the drug court division or such clerk's designee shall serve as the clerk of the drug court division.

(7) The court instituting the drug court division may request probation officers and other employees of the court to perform duties for the drug court division. Such employees shall perform duties as directed by the judges of the drug court division.

(8) The court instituting the drug court division may enter into agreements with other courts and agencies for the assignment of personnel from other courts and agencies to the drug court division.

(9) Expenses for salaries, equipment, services, and supplies incurred in implementing this Code section may be paid from state funds, funds of the county or political subdivision implementing such drug court division, federal grant funds, and funds from private donations.
(b)(1) Each drug court division shall establish criteria which define the successful completion of the drug court division program.

(2) If the drug court division participant successfully completes the drug court division program prior to the entry of judgment, the case against the drug court division participant may be dismissed by the prosecuting attorney.

(3) If the drug court division participant successfully completes the drug court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court, the sentence of the drug court division participant may be reduced or modified.

(4) Any plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered pursuant to this Code section may not be withdrawn without the consent of the court.

(c) Any statement made by a drug court division participant as part of participation in such court, or any report made by the staff of the court or program connected to the court, regarding a participant's substance usage shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any legal proceeding or prosecution; provided, however, if the participant violates the conditions of his or her participation in the program or is terminated from the drug court division, the reasons for the violation or termination may be considered in sanctioning, sentencing, or otherwise disposing of the participant's case.

(d) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to permit a judge to impose, modify, or reduce a sentence below the minimum sentence required by law.

(e) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, drug court division staff shall be provided, upon request, with access to all records relevant to the treatment of the drug court division participant from any state or local government agency. All such records and the contents thereof shall be treated as confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the drug court division, and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records, or subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Such records and the contents thereof shall be maintained by the drug court division and originating court in a confidential file not available to the public.

(f) Any fees received by a drug court division from a drug court division participant as payment for substance abuse treatment and services shall not be considered as court costs or a fine.

(g) The court may have the authority to accept grants and donations and other proceeds from outside sources for the purpose of supporting the drug court division. Any such grants, donations, or proceeds shall be retained by the drug court division for expenses.

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