Can I fight a failure to appear on drug charges if I'm in rehab? 7 Answers as of August 20, 2012

I live in California and am in the Prop 36 program (my 1st arrest for drugs). Every other Friday I am to be in the court room to review and update the courts. I completed my assessments and received a referral for 90 day detox and was placed on the county waiting list. I also fall under Drug Dependant criteria instead of Drug Abuse. I waited four months to be called for a bed, I completed everything that was asked of me, went to groups and meetings even tough it was not required. On one of the Fridays at court I was tested, and it was positive. My attorney told me I was going to be remanded. I left the Courtroom quickly, and have made no contact with probation, attorney, etc and have since been cited with Failure to Appear. I know I am hurting my case by doing this, but I left court that day because I was entering into a detox program that I found and am paying for, the program is for one year, I need that. What can I do?

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Ann Fitz, Attorney at Law, PC
Ann Fitz, Attorney at Law, PC | Ann Fitz
The only thing to do is to address this issue in court.

A strong argument can be made on your behalf since you took responsibility for yourself to enter into a detox program once you tested positive in court.

Ultimately, the decision of what to do will be up to the judge, but you have to address the FTA because the warrant will remain active until you appear, even for years.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2012
Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
Big mistake....you need to get back to your attorney and don't let this thing spiral out of control.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/20/2012
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
You can always fight anything. Winning is a different issue. You just described a fight to avoid arrest which no doubt got you a warrant issued for you. You also described cause?for the arrest, your positive drug test in violation of probation. To handle a warrant, you must turn yourself in to the issuing court, with or without an attorney. You'll try to negotiate a recall of the warrant[s] and negotiate a plea bargain on the Failure to Appear charge. You'll try to negotiate bail reduction or OR release. You'll try to negotiate a plea bargain on the probation violation that caused the warrant. On felony charges, the defendant must be personally present at every court hearing and appearance. Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail/prison, or at least dramatically reduce it, and may enable you to get your probation and programs reinstated. Unless you're competent to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor trying to put you in jail, most people hire an attorney who can.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2012
Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
You need to contact an attorney as quickly as you can so we can regularize your situation before you are kicked out of the Prop 36 diversion program and have to do hard time or hard probation. The Proposition 36 program, and its little brother PC 1000 (which is for 1st offenders with lesser substance abuse and addition problems and thereby requires less of a rigid treatment- counselor supervising plan), are what are called California Diversion Programs. They were instituted as the State of California's effort at practicing what they preach concerning the public policy belief that substance abuse and addition, albeit any addiction is an illness and not a crime. Under these programs California treats person who have been arrested for substance abuse offenses as needing treatment. It also supervises the treatment and ensures there are free treatment programs in this state. Therefore if once enters these programs and successfully completes the treatment there charges are dropped as if they never occurred. The PC 1000 diversion plan even goes further. There, not only are the charges dismissed but the arrests are deleted as if it never occurred. Stated, you must retain counsel to contact the court's to get you back on track.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2012
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Have attorney schedule you for surrender on warrant. Show proof of entry in and residence at program. What happens. Delay is not beneficial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    You are going to have to get back in court. Your attorney should add the case to calendar for self-surrender and show up with a program representative.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Yes, although you should have notified the court of the problem before-hand.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2012
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