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Tarrant County DA expands sobriety program to dismiss low-level drug cases

Officials said by resolving these drug cases, they can then focus their resources on violent crime victims.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office is expanding a sobriety program to dismiss low-level drug offenses to residents 25 and older. 

For years, anyone between 17 and 24 years old has been able to participate in the six-month deferred prosecution program. Residents 25 and older can now apply to the program in efforts to stay sober.

Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said officials are trying to resolve the lower-level drug cases so that they can focus their resources on violent crimes with victims, which have increased during the pandemic.

"One of the goals of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation," Wilson said. "Sobriety is the beginning of that rehabilitation."

During the program, participants are required to stay free of drugs and not commit any additional criminal offenses in order for the charge to be dismissed.

People interested in applying cannot have a criminal history or record of participating in any other diversion program. They also must apply to the program within 90 days of their case being filed. 

Once accepted into the program, participants will attend an orientation, sign waivers, provide three-drug hair follicle tests, and pay a $300 program fee. Some participants may be required to take an online drug and alcohol class. 

Wilson's office said out of state residents, such as those cited for airport drug cases, are also allowed to participate.

Once someone completes the program, the case is dismissed, officials said.

However, anyone who violates the program guidelines will be kicked out of the program and their case will move forward in the courts.

Those eligible to participate in the program may face a variety of charges, including all misdemeanor and felony THC charges and a limited number of controlled substances, excluding heroin and fentanyl, officials said. 

"If we can get documented sobriety, then I am fine with this person's case being dismissed," Wilson said. 

More information about the program can be found below: