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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26826
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have a loved one who was participating in a court ordered

Customer Question

I have a loved one who was participating in a court ordered rehab program called SMART here in Travis County Texas it was to last 5 months and after she had completed 4 1/2 months they raided the dorm and confiscated items that she and others were not allowed to have in there. The items in question were not drug or alcohol related but after those in there giving statements and with recordings from phone conversations on the items found they were wanting to maybe send her back to jail to then do original sentence or basically start her all over from the beginning after she had already completed her work and classes and is just waiting now to when she was to be released. This is here first time offense with conviction cause of the environment that there is there now for her with those in her dorm and them not willing to transfer her to another dorm plus with starting over all over she most likely wouldn't make it and become depressed and plus us loved ones out in the real world now having to continue to provide support financial and mental again when she was just bout done and the items found were not illegal at all just not allowed to have in there it doesn't seem right. Almost seems like a scheme for that facility to get more money to them by charging another fee to restart as well as all the fee's for being in there. With that said she had decided to abscond did not go back. Currently she doesn't know what to do as expected. I'm wanting to know after they know she is not returning to the facility what then happens how long till a warrant be issued or by whom what options she may have in getting this rectified. She doesn't mind turning herself in just wants to know what to be expecting if she does. Charge was procession of I believe meth and sentence was 2 years at TEC or the probation she is on with going to the SMART program and after that being completed doing 6 months out patient with them for 2 days a week 4hrs each day. From what I was told she had already accured like 9 months of time served from being in jail up to the start of the program. she had a court appointed attorney who really did a poor job of representing her especially with this being the first conviction on her record and did not fight for her to much at all hell even the program she went to was brought up by the judge plus he even told me he is not the most aggressive lawyer. Any advice or info on the process that she is looking at needing to know to make a decision or to expect. Thank you
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when was the warrant issued?
Customer: Texas, Austin Travis County, from what ive tried to find out no new warrant has been issued and im wondering how long it takes normally and by whom till that does happen.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no not yet
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: pretty much ive mentioned everything except that as I said its her first conviction but not first arrest those were thrown out or never went to court
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Programs like the SMART program are very special programs designed to rehabilitate a defendant with a substance abuse problem, not only by providing a course of treatment but by giving them the tools to live a more productive lifestyle. It works on a contract system, in which a defendant agrees to be bound by the rules of the program -- all of them -- not just the ones relating to drugs or alcohol.

Adherence to all of the program's policies for a specified period of time -- here apparently 5 months -- allows a defendant essentially to work off his or her conviction, graduate from the program and get a clean start. Any violation of the program can lead to a demotion, on the one hand, and additional time in the program or the jail or prison sentence that the defendant avoided in the first place by agreeing to get help with his or her problem.

All of this is typically spelled out in advance to the defendant by the court and the defendant must agree to be bound by all of these rules and to waive his right to appeal the decision of the court.

So the dilemma is exactly what your daughter has been told. She has had a program set back due to her breaking the rules of the program. Because whatever was going on was not drug or alcohol related and also not a new crime but just a breaking of the program's rules, she's lost her clean time and must make that up. Or, if she'd rather, and I don't see why she would, she can do her time and forget getting help and a clean start.

This is how these specialty court programs work all over the nation. Texas is doing nothing more than enforcing the contract your daughter agreed to.

Once the court finds out that your daughter absconded, they will issue a warrant for her arrest. When that happens, your daughter would be hurting her chances of being able to resolve her program violation with a phase setback and increasing the likelihood that she will be bounced from the program altogether and made to serve her time. If that happens, she does not get jail credit for time in the program, but will be sentenced to what she agreed her punishment would be when she gave up her rights to challenge all this, including her right to appeal, by agreeing to the SMART program.

I would urge you to tell her to return to court or the program as soon as possible to ensure that she can remain in the program.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.