What is Drug Treatment Court and how do I participate?

1. Decide if you want to apply to DTC

You should only apply to Drug Treatment Court (DTC) if you:

  • understand what DTC involves,
  • are eligible based on your charges and record, and
  • are willing to .

What DTC involves

You must:

  • participate in treatment programming
  • go to court regularly, usually at least once a week
  • try your best to stay sober and be honest about drug use
  • try not to commit more crimes or breach your
  • continue to attend court for one to three years

DTC connects you to supports like medical treatment, counselling, employment training, and housing. The idea is that if you address your addiction, you are less likely to commit a crime again.

To participate in DTC, you have to go to court often, sometimes twice a week. Usually, it takes at least one year to finish DTC, but often it takes much longer.

You must try your best to stay sober. You must be honest about your drug use and take random urine tests. You won't necessarily be kicked out of DTC if you relapse but you must show that you're trying to do your best. If you do test positive, you may get a penalty, like attending court more often, or spending a night in .

When you're finished your DTC program, you apply to graduate. After you graduate, the judge will you to a period of . There is no jail time.

Your charges and record

DTC is for people who:

  • are charged with non-violent offences,
  • currently use street drugs like opiates, cocaine, or methamphetamines, and
  • are charged with a crime primarily because of their addiction.

You're not eligible for DTC if your current or previous charges include:

  • violent crimes like a serious or murder
  • having or selling a large amount of drugs for money
  • breaking into someone's home
  • driving under the influence of drugs
  • a victim under 18 years of age

There are some exceptions. For example, if your

  • criminal record is quite old
  • previous violent happened while you were under the influence of drugs and no one got seriously hurt

You can also be accepted to DTC if there are “” such as:

  • you're willing to get treatment and community supports,
  • you've experienced trauma,
  • you have other health issues, or
  • you're an Indigenous person.

Pleading Guilty

Usually, you must plead guilty to participate in DTC. If you plead guilty, you agree in court that you committed a crime and give up your right to a . Once you complete the program, the judge will sentence you to probation and you will get a criminal record. For more details, see Step 3.

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