Toronto Drug Treatment Court can be a good option for accused persons, but it is not necessarily the best option.
- When someone commits a crime that is motivated by drug addiction they may be eligible to have their criminal charges resolved through Toronto Drug Treatment Court (TDTC).
- TDTC is a judicially supervised drug treatment and rehabilitation program for accused persons whose criminal charges arose out of behaviour motivated by drug addiction.
- Accused persons who are addicted to cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin or other opiates, or methamphetamine are eligible for acceptance into the TDTC program.
- The court recognizes that drug addiction is mental health problem that can motivate criminal behaviour that the accused person may not otherwise commit.
What Must I do to Enter The Toronto Drug Treatment Court?
The accused person must:
Fill out an application
Be accepted into the TDTC Program by the Crown Attorney
Read and sign a Rule and Wavier Form, provided by their defence counsel or duty counsel
They must plead guilty
Is Everyone With a Drug Addiction Accepted into the TDTC Program?
Participants will be screened out of the program if they are charged with:
- A crime that is deemed to be significantly violent
- Drug trafficking for commercial gain
- A crime that is associated with drug-impaired driving
- A crime that is associated with putting young people at risk
- Have a recent or significant history of violence
- Have previously completed the TDTC Program.
- If an accused was previously enrolled in the TDTC program but did not successfully complete it either because they were expelled or they withdrew, they may still be accepted into the program a second time, however the onus will be on the defence to to persuade the Crown that that they should be admitted.
There are Six Phases of TDTS Screening:
- Crown Screening: The Crown will review the accused’s application and questionnaire that they would have had to previously fill out, the allegations against the accused, the criminal record of the accused, as well as input from the police to assess if admittance into the TDTC Program would pose a public safety concern
- Preliminary Addictions assessment: A brief assessment of the accused is done by the TDTC workers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). This will be conducted wither in court or in custody, depending on if the accused has been released.
- TDTC Team pre-court discussion: This is a discussion about the applicant that takes place between the Crown, the TDTC worker, Probation officer, Defence counsel, bail program and the TDTC judge
- In-court Interview by the TDTC Judge: this is a frank discussion held in court to ensure that the accused understands the seriousness of the program as well as the rights he/she must waive in order to be eligible into the program. Following this discussion, the accused will at this time plead guilty and be released on strict bail conditions to allow the accused to attend the program.
- In-depth addiction assessment at CAMH: this is a more thorough assessment done by a therapist at CAMH one day following the applicant’s admittance into the program
- 30- day assessment period: Once CAMH has approved the accused as a suitable candidate the applicant will participate in the TDTC program in a provisional basis for 30 days. If in this period of time the accused or the TDTC program workers to not feel that it is an appropriate match, the accused will have his/her guilty plea struck and be returned into the regular criminal justice stream. If after the 30 days, the accused is determined to be an appropriate match the accused will have to formally accept admittance into the TDTC program. Once they have been formally admitted the accused relinquishes the option of having their guilty plea struck.
What happens once I complete the drug treatment or rehabilitation program?
- If the program is successfully completed the accused will receive a non-custodial sentence
- However if the accused do not successfully complete the program will usually proceed to sentencing, or in some circumstances they may be able to have their matter returned to the regular court process.
- It is important for an accused person considering TDTC to understand that their acceptance into the program is dependant upon their guilty plea.
- A guilty plea has certain contingencies and may not be the best way for them to resolve their criminal offence charges.
- If you have been charged with a drug related criminal offence or any other criminal offence contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers today for advice!