Drug Court Eligibility Expanded-2018 Oklahoma Laws #20

oklahoma drug court participantThe eligibility for drug court expanded under this legislation. HB 2881 amended 22 O.S. §§ 471.2-471.4. The changes went into effect on November 1, 2018. The opportunity for review of an offender for a drug court program may now happen at any time prior to the disposition of the case and sentencing of the offender. This includes sentencing on a petition to revoke a suspended sentence or any probation violation. Previously, the initial opportunity for review of an offender had to occur within four days after the arrest. Now, admission to a drug court program within the previous five years won’t make an offender ineligible for consideration into a new program. The drug court investigation now may be conducted before or after the initial hearing for consideration but must happen before the hearing for final determination of eligibility for the drug court program. Previously, the investigation had to be conducted after the initial hearing for consideration. I don’t believe these changes will have a big impact in Oklahoma. On July 1, 2017, all simple possession of drug crimes were reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors. Therefore, as time goes on, less and less people will be eligible for the primary drug court. Some counties have established misdemeanor drug courts. However, the penalties for a misdemeanor are far less significant than those for a felony. It’s likely that many people would rather just take a misdemeanor conviction rather than going through the pain of participating in misdemeanor drug court. Sources: HB 2881 and 22 O.S. §§ 471.2, 471.3, & 471.4

Interested in participating in an Oklahoma drug court? Call Oklahoma drug court lawyer Frank Urbanic in OKC at 405-633-3420.

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic.® 405-633-3420