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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Juvenile: Juvenile Drug Court: Drug Court Process

Drug Court Process

Juvenile Drug Court is a nine-month (270-day) program divided into three phases. A participant must successfully complete each phase before transitioning to the next phase. Each phase has a key concept or focus. During any of the three phases, a participant may be required to participate in individual or family counseling, in addition to substance abuse treatment.

Phase I    (0 - 90 clean and sober days)
         Key Concept - Recovery and Responsibility to Self

      • Weekly Drug Court attendance.
      • Drug treatment consisting of up to nine hours per week.
      • Random drug testing at least two times per week.
      • Mandatory school attendance.
      • Weekly contact with assigned Probation Officer and Juvenile Recovery Specialist.
      • Remaining law abiding.
      • Complying at home.

If a minor relapses in Phase I, all sober days are lost and he or she will revert to the first day of Phase I.


Phase II    (91 - 180 clean and sober days)
        Key Concept - Maintenance of Recovery and Responsibility to Others

      • Bi-weekly Drug Court attendance.
      • Community service hours (if assigned).
      • All other components of Phase I.

A relapse in Phase II will result in a loss of all sober days and a return to day one of Phase I.

Participants completing Phase II are eligible to apply for promotion to Phase III.


Phase III    (181 - 270 clean and sober days) 
Key Concept - Maintenance of Recovery and Responsibility to Self and Others. Reinforce a Clean and Sober, Legal Lifestyle. Provide services to improve the youths’ ability to become productive members of the community.

      • Monthly Drug Court attendance.
      • Weekly to bi-weekly contact with the Probation Officer and Juvenile Recovery Specialist
      • Completion of an aftercare treatment program as directed.
      • Random drug testing at least one time per week.
      • Completion of any outstanding conditions of probation (e.g. fine ü and restitution payments, classes, community service, etc.).
      • Continued school program and compliance at home.
      • Mandatory appearance at a Drug Court Review Hearing upon completion of 270 days of sobriety.

If a participant relapses in Phase III, he or she will lose all sober days and is returned to Phase I. Upon successful completion of Phase I (90 days sobriety), the minor is returned to Phase III. If a second relapse occurs in Phase III, the minor will return to Phase I and lose all sober days. The participant must then progress through each phase of the program to graduate (exceptions may be made for 18-year-olds who will be evaluated individually).

Application for Phase III includes the following:

      • Participant is given a written application at approximately 165 clean and sober days.
      • The Drug Court team members, including the minor’s Probation Officer and Juvenile Recovery Specialist, evaluate the completed application and assessment.
      • The team recommends the participant’s acceptance or non-acceptance into Phase III. Should a participant not be accepted into Phase III, the team will note specific reasons for the denial and make recommendations for improvement.


Graduation Ceremony

A juvenile who achieves 270 days of sobriety is eligible for graduation and consideration for successful termination/completion of probation. A ceremony acknowledging individual achievement is held in the courtroom. In addition, an annual graduation ceremony is held to honor all Juvenile Drug Court graduates. At this event each minor’s family is invited to attend as well as treatment providers and public officials to celebrate each participant’s success and achievement.


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