Court Ordered Drug Testing in Alabama Is A Catch-22
Many courts in Alabama order drug testing as result of a criminal conviction. Drug testing may even be ordered pre-trial or in pre-trial diversion programs. Drug testing may be ordered by a court in Alabama as a condition of your bond, even before you have been convicted of any crime. Frequent drug testing may be ordered by the court essentially at any time during the criminal process. Often, criminal defendants charged with drug crimes will enter a drug testing program to have their cases dismissed before trial.
What is a Catch-22? A Catch-22 is defined as a difficult circumstance that has no possibility of escape because of mutually conflicting and dependent conditions. It is a paradoxical situation. Court ordered drug testing can be a double-edged sword helping some individuals while hurting many others.
Too many criminal defendants in Alabama are placed in mandatory drug testing programs, usually because of a drug or alcohol offense. They are placed upon “color code,” which requires random drug testing. A defendant must call a phone number every day, and if their color is called, they must report that day for drug testing. Failure to report for drug testing can cause jail time, revocation of probation, and/or expulsion from a critical diversion program.
"Freedom is not Free, it is Won by Fierce Dedication to Liberty and Fought Savagely with Passion"
Attorney Erik Fine
Criminal Diversion Programs
Criminal diversion programs in Alabama are designed to “help,” criminal defendants from being convicted of certain charges, usually drug crimes or alcohol related crimes. However, Accountability Courts, Mental Health Courts, and Juvenile Courts may all require random drug testing. Criminal diversion programs can be a blessing to some people who need help with drug or alcohol treatments, but are often very expensive, time consuming, hard, or impossible to complete, and unnecessary. Failure to abide by the rules has harsh consequences for drug court and diversion participants.
Diversion programs may also have numerous other stipulations, attend court every week, usually a Friday, maintain employment, regularly report to a supervisor, and pay costly fines and fees. Drug court or other division programs is to keep defendants out of jail and to get help with their addiction. Drug court is often plagued by unreasonable fees and false positive drug tests. Even a diluted test can put a drug court participant in jail. To top it off, there is no trial. A simple diluted test, or a failed test results in immediate jail time.
Completion of a diversion program however, results in the dismissal of the criminal charges against you. So, it is easy to see why drug courts and diversion programs are popular. After a diversion dismissal it is often possible to have your case expunged in Alabama, meaning that the record of your arrest will be removed. It will be as if the criminal charge never occurred.
Alabama passed the Mandatory Testing program that requires testing and monitoring of people convicted of drug or alcohol crimes. The Alabama Statute also create the Court Referral Program. Drug testing is administered on a local level with little oversight from the State of Alabama.
Court Referral and Criminal Diversion Programs Are Unfair
Many Alabama Criminal Lawyers believe this system punishes poor defendant's and is set up to fail while making money for local government agencies. Once you are in the system, it is hard to get out. I have literally seen defendant's charged with simple possession of a drug spend years in a drug court or other court referral or community corrections program.
Constant Drug Testing is expensive. Usually, you need to pay around $40.00 per test. Many people in Alabama live under the poverty level. Plus, the immense fees and costs of the program itself. These programs unfairly burden the poor.
Why Hire an Experienced Alabama Criminal Lawyer?
I am attorney Erik Fine, and I represent clients throughout Shelby County, St. Clair County, Jefferson County, and throughout Alabama. I started the Patriot Law Firm to fight for the Constitutional Rights of the people of Alabama. I can help you protect your reputation, future, income, finances, and even your freedom. I believe in our U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our Rights are guaranteed for everyone. As a young man I enlisted in the Navy, and later became a police officer. My entire life has been devoted to protecting and serving our country and the State of Alabama.
If you of a loved one is facing a criminal charge in Alabama please contact me for a free private and confidential consultation. I will go over your case and provide all your options. When you contact my law firm, you speak with me, not another less experienced lawyer, or secretary, and I will be with you through the entire process, side by side.
I represent clients for criminal charges in many cases, including some of these criminal matters:
- Gun Law Violations
- Domestic Violence Charges
- Theft Charges and Shoplifting
- Probation and Parole Violations
- Drug Charges
"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."