Alcohol Diversion Program

The State’s Attorney’s Office response to substance abuse is vigorous prosecution, referrals to drug treatment programs and support for drug prevention programs.

At the Circuit Court level, where felony drug offenders are prosecuted, the State’s Attorney’s Office targets repeat offenders for severe sanctions.

At the District Court level, where misdemeanor drug cases are heard, the office advocates for drug abuse assessment and treatment for offenders. The DUI/Drug Court is a distinct court system dedicated to changing the behavior of alcohol/drug dependent offenders arrested for DUI. This court utilizes prosecutors, defense attorneys, the drunk driver monitor program, and law enforcement along with alcohol/drug treatment professonals for a team-oriented approach to systematically change participant behavior.

The significant problems presented by drug abuse in Howard County cannot be eliminated by law enforcement alone. The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office also advocates and participates in several county-wide drug prevention programs. To this end, an Assistant State’s Attorney serves on the Alcohol & Drug Advisory Board.

Alcohol Diversion Program

The Alcohol Diversion Program of the State's Attorney's Office was created to reduce the amount of time and effort spent in trying comparatively minor alcohol cases, thus saving limited resources for more severe criminal cases. This program handles only first-time offenders 18 years of age and older who are charged with minor alcohol offenses. It is designed to give offenders the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction. Driving while Intoxicated and driving under the influence cases are not included in the program. After an eligibility screening, the accused are offered the chance to accept alcohol education or treatment. If they do, then cases are removed from an active criminal status and made "inactive." Upon successful completion of the program, the case is dismissed, thereby allowing the accused to clear his or her police and court records. If the accused does not successfully complete the program, the case is made active and scheduled for trial.

By the diversion of appropriate cases into treatment, the program improves the operational effectiveness of the court process by providing early diagnosis of alcohol-related problems, providing education or treatment for those problems and offering an alternative to incarceration for the accused who pose no danger to the community.

To guarantee a high quality of service to Diversion Program participants, the State's Attorney's Office holds periodic meetings with treatment providers and other agencies that provide services to participants.