Queens Treatment Court (QTC)

Treatment Court is targeted towards reducing the recidivism rate among offenders who have a history of drug and alcohol substance abuse problems. Participants in Treatment Court face numerous requirements including an initial assessment, intensive drug and alcohol treatment, frequent court appearances, and submitting to random frequent drug tests.

The Queens Treatment Court (QTC) was created by the New York State Unified Court System, the Queens County Supreme Court, the Office of the Chief Administrative Judge of New York City, the Queens County District Attorney's Office, and the Legal Aid Society. Although drug court programs can be a life-saver for some, these programs are not appropriate for everyone.

Queens Lawyer for Treatment Court Options

If you are innocent of the charges, if your case involves an illegal search or seizure, if the prosecutor has insufficient evidence, or if you do not need drug treatment, felony drug court may not be the best option for you. Agreeing to enter a plea to any felony charge is a very serious matter.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options. Criminal defense attorneys can also help participants after a new arrest, dirty urine or a violation of the rules of drug court. Call the Law Offices of Rochelle S. Berliner to discuss your case today.

Information on QTC

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Eligibility for Treatment Court in Queens

Eligibility requirements include having a pending felony drug charge but not having any felony convictions. Certain misdemeanor convictions for crimes of violence might also make a person ineligible for the program. Serious drug crimes such as Class A-1 and Class A-2 felonies are generally not eligible, but, occasionally, the District Attorney and the Court will agree to some exceptions.  Initial eligibility determinations are made by the District Attorney’s Office. If an individual is qualified "on paper" then he or she may be referred for a screening and clinical assessment.

Also available to offenders facing misdemeanor drug charges is the Misdemeanor Treatment Court (QMTC) which follows similar guidelines as felony Treatment Court.

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Ineligibility for Queens Treatment Court

The person making the clinical assessment may find the defendant is not eligible for one of the following reasons:

  • the individual does not want or need drug treatment;
  • the individual does not wish to participate in the program; or
  • the individual has a serious co-occurring mental illness, in which case a MICA (Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted) program might be available.

If the defendant is found eligible for the Queens Treatment Court based on the clinical assessment, then the defendant must enter a guilty plea to the underlying drug charge and sign paperwork to formally enter the drug court program.

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Effect of Entering the Plea in Queens Treatment Court

In order to enter the program, the defendant must enter a guilty plea. The defendant must also agree that in the event that he or she does not complete the drug treatment program successfully then the court can sentence the defendant to a period of incarceration. After entering the drug court program, the defendant must agree to the successfully complete an intensive treatment plan which typically lasts one year but can last as long as two years.

The program is divided into three different phases of treatment. Each of the three phases require four months without sanctions. After four months without sanctions, the person is permitted to move to the next phase of treatment. Participants in drug court are also required to appear in court once a week for the first four weeks. The frequency of these court appearances is lessened over time to once every two weeks and then once every four weeks. During court appearances, the judge will ask the participant questions about their progress in treatment.

Once a person has successfully completed Treatment Court, the felony plea is vacated, the case is dismissed and the records are sealed.  This is a tremendous incentive to succeed.

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Finding an Appropriate Treatment Plan in Drug Court

Case managers develop a treatment plan based on the needs of the participant. Anyone of 40 different community-based treatment programs might be utilized based on the participant's needs, living situation and family support. Other factors include the primary drug of choice and severity of the addiction. Treatment programs can include either intensive outpatient treatment, short-term residential programs or even long-term residential programs.

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Requirement for Felony Drug Court

The requirements to successfully complete the felony drug court program in Queens County, New York, can include any of the following:

  • regular drug and alcohol testing;
  • successful completion of an intensive out-patient drug treatment program or residential program;
  • medical screening;
  • attendance at educational or vocational programs; and
  • participation in self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (or NA).

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Violations in the Queens Treatment Program

Violations of QTC can occur for any of the following reasons:

  • missing a court date;
  • an arrest for new charges;
  • failure to follow the rules of the court;
  • failure to comply with the requirements of the treatment program; or
  • a dirty urine or the failure to submit to a urine test.

The Queens Treatment Court has a schedule of sanctions that can be imposed for certain types of violations. The court uses the schedule of sanctions as a guidelines but the ultimate decision is made on a case by case basis by the judge. A felony arrest or other types of repeat or more serious violations can result in failure from the program.

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Drug Court Resources

Drug Court Personal Stories - Read stories from participants in drug court from across the state of New York. This publication of the Center or Court Innovation and the New York State Unified Court System have stories from the people accused of drug crimes, as well as drug court judges and case managers.

Center for Court Innovation on Drug Court - Interested in research, development, justice and reform, the Center for Court Innovation is involved in drug court programs through New York City, including the Queens Treatment Court. Drug court programs use a collaborative effort to enforce compliance while an individual is on probation after entering a plea (post-adjudicatory).

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Finding an Attorney for the Queens Treatment Court

If you are accused of a first time felony drug crime in Queens County, NY, then contact an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer. The Law Office fights both felony and misdemeanor drug charges.

The Queens Treatment Court can be a wonderful option for some, but the program is not right for everyone. Call or submit an online form to discuss the facts of your case today.