If you have recently been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Florida you are undoubtedly worried about the outcome of your case. Like many offenders, there may be an explanation for your behavior that led to your arrest. You may, for instance, have a drug addiction problem and/or a mental health condition for which you are not receiving treatment. If so, you may be wondering “Can I do a treatment program in Florida? ” The good news is that the answer is “maybe”.

Studies have consistently shown that there is a direct, and dramatic, correlation between criminal activity and both drug addiction and mental illness. In the case of drug addiction, an addict will often resort to stealing to pay for his/her drug habit. Mental illness presents a similar, yet often more complicated problem. All too often an individual suffering from an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness will begin to “self-medicate”. This leads to using illicit drugs in an effort to mask or “treat” the symptoms of the mental illness. The drug use can then lead to criminal behavior such as theft, prostitution, or similar crimes. Sadly, it becomes a vicious circle for a victim until something is done to stop the cycle. The good news is that many counties in Florida do offer drug and/or mental health treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration for some crimes.

Individual counties develop and administer their own treatment diversion programs in the State of Florida. For this reason, the eligibility criteria as well as the participation guidelines will vary somewhat from one county to another, however, most programs share some similar characteristics, including:

• Only misdemeanors or less serious felonies are accepted
• No violent crimes are accepted
• Charges stemming from the sale or transport of drugs are not eligible
• A participant must be evaluated and shown to have a drug addiction or mental illness
• Programs are lengthy – usually a year or longer
• Successful completion will result in dismissal of the charges

If you are currently facing charges in Florida for a misdemeanor or a lessor felony and you believe you would benefit from a drug or mental health treatment program, you need to be screened right away for eligibility before your case progresses through the system. Consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your eligibility and to get started on your application. Contact the criminal defense team at Powers, Sellers, & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.