Drug Court Program
Delaware's Drug Diversion Court began full operation in April 1994 and expanded into the country's first statewide program in 1997. The Drug Court processes cases on two tracks.
Track I targets defendants who are arrested while on Superior Court probation and who are charged with one or more drug offenses that do not carry a minimum mandatory sentence.
A violation hearing is held within 14 to 21 days of arrest to resolve both the violation and the new charge. If both are resolved by a plea agreement, a punishment and treatment program is established. Each case is actively monitored by the Track I judge. If no plea agreement is reached, the violation is heard and a trial is scheduled within 90 days of arrest. Track I has been successful in expediting the resolution of charges related to offenses committed by individuals on probation. Many of these offenders are quickly referred to residential substance abuse treatment followed by outpatient treatment.
A recent study showed that those who successfully completed Track I treatment were less likely to be re-arrested within 18 months following release. Statistics also show that this program has been successful in reducing the number of drug-addicted babies born to previously addicted mothers who have completed the program.
Track II targets defendants who are arrested for drug offenses who have no or minimal prior felony convictions and who are charged with offenses other than trafficking or delivery (which carry minimum mandatory sentences).
Diversion-eligible defendants waive their right to a jury trial and agree to a stipulated fact trial if they do not comply with diversion conditions.
Defendants appear at monthly hearings before the Track II judge, who monitors the defendants' progress in the drug treatment program.
Upon successful completion of the program requirements, the case against the defendant is dismissed.