Drug Court

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In 1997, the second Drug Court in Pennsylvania was launched in Chester County. Drug courts are this nation’s most effective strategy at reducing recidivism among seriously drug addicted, nonviolent offenders. Nationally, 75% of individuals who complete drug court are not re-arrested. 

About the Program

The Chester County Drug Court Program is a 12-month (minimum) to 24-month program, consisting of four phases of supervision. Drug Court is a collaborative effort among the Court, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Office of Drug and Alcohol Services, Bail Agency and Adult Probation. The program is designed to treat the non-violent drug dependent offender through a non-traditional case disposition, focusing on treatment and judicial authority to directly supervise and support the offender’s performance in treatment. All offenders accepted into this program are assigned to the Drug Court Judge.


The program is available to offenders charged with non-mandatory drug offenses and/or a 1st offense DUI with a drug offense, who are not currently under probation/parole supervision, and have no prior record for violent offenses. The offender must waive their right to a Preliminary Hearing. Completion of the Drug Court application, an ARD application (for DUI charges), and a drug and alcohol assessment is required prior to consideration for the program. If deemed appropriate for the program, the Court imposes a pre-trial disposition, “Disposition in lieu of Trial or Criminal Punishment”, 35 P.S. Sec. 780-118.

Supervision Requirements

Upon acceptance into the program, the offender is assigned to a Probation Officer who assumes intensive supervisory responsibilities. During each phase of the program, the offender is expected to comply with the rules and regulations of the program, submit to screenings for the use of drugs and alcohol, attend treatment, appear before the Court for reviews, pay fines and costs, maintain or actively seek employment or be involved in a productive daily activity. The initial phase consists of twice weekly drug screens and weekly reviews before the Court. The program requirements are reduced from phase to phase upon successful completion of the conditions and maintained sobriety. Drug Court reviews are utilized to reinforce progress in the program and to sanction non-compliance.

To be eligible for graduation from the program the following is required of the offender: successfully complete all phases, maintain 90 consecutive days of sobriety; successful completion of treatment goals, stable employment or involvement in a productive daily activity, completion of a phase 3 project, and payment of all fines and costs. Upon successful completion of the program, the Court dismisses the charges and expunges the offenders’ record of this offense.