As discussed in Part I of this post, the felony controlled substance pretrial intervention program was introduced in 2016 to provide certain offenders charged with personal use amounts of felony controlled substances who meet certain criteria the opportunity to avoid a criminal record.
What are the Requirements for the Felony Controlled Substance Pretrial Intervention Program?
Those placed on pretrial intervention will face requirements similar to those placed on community supervision (probation or deferred adjudication). A person entering the felony controlled substance pretrial intervention program will sign an agreement with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office the he or she will:
- Participate in the intervention program for one year beginning today and be supervised during this period by the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (hereinafter the “Department”), or any department having courtesy supervision jurisdiction.
- Follow the recommendations of the assessment by the Department and participate faithfully in any and all programs recommended by the Department.
- Report to the Department monthly unless otherwise directed in writing by the Department.
- Pay all fees as directed by the Court or by the Department including the initial assessment fee of $200.00, a supervisory fee at the rate of $60.00 per month, and a laboratory fee at the rate of $10.00 per month to the Department to cover the cost of my participation in the intervention program.
- Pay a one-time fee of $12.50 to the Department for the issuance of a Department identification card.
During the period of pretrial intervention, the defendant agrees that he or she will:
- Not change my home address without first giving written notice to the Department within five days of any such change;
- Avoid injurious or vicious habits. NOT USE, CONSUME, OR POSSESS ANY CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, DANGEROUS DRUG, MARIJUANA, ALCOHOL OR PRESCRIPTION DRUG NOT SPECIFICALLY PRESCRIBED TO ME BY LAWFUL PRESCRIPTION;
- Submit to drug/alcohol analysis by authorized personnel of the Department, including any department having courtesy supervision jurisdiction, once a month or as directed by the Department. Provide proof of any medication(s) lawfully prescribed prior to submitting a specimen;
- Participate in community service programs as directed by the department for a total of up to 50 hours.
- Not violate the laws of this state, any other state, the United States, or any political subdivision of these jurisdictions;
- Be prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing, receiving, or purchasing a firearm, altered firearm, or ammunition, or attempting to ship, transport, possess, receive, or purchase a firearm, altered firearm, or ammunition; and
- Appear in court as directed by the court or the Department.
What Happens If I do Not Successfully Complete Pretrial Intervention?
The case will be re-docketed, the person will have to appear in court, and the case will proceed as though there was never any pretrial intervention agreement. The District Attorney’s Office has sole discretion over whether a violation has occurred, and there is no appeals process. The person will have the option to accept a plea bargain (which can range from deferred adjudication to prison time) or proceed to trial.
The Harris County “First Chance” pretrial intervention program for marijuana offenders is discussed in Part III of III this post as well as the risks and rewards of the Harris County Drug Pretrial Diversion and Pretrial Intervention Programs.