TARRANT COUNTY FIRST OFFENDER DRUG PROGRAM

A Second Chance for First-Time Drug Offenders. Do You Want Your Drug Case Dismissed in Just 90 Days?

Our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers handle many drug cases each year. Several of those cases involve defendants that have never been arrested or convicted of a crime before. Until recently, the most common option for the first-time defendant in a drug case to get his case dismissed (aside from a not guilty verdict at trial) was to plead guilty and accept a long term of deferred probation (typically 3-5 years). Included in this “deal” was a hefty fine, thousands of dollars in probation fees, and well over 100 hours of community service. This same plea deal was offered to repeat offenders and first-time offenders alike.

The First Offender Drug Program (FODP): A New Option for First-Time Drug Offenders

In June 2015, the Tarrant County District Attorney approved a program that diverts low risk first-time drug offenders out of the court system and into a supervisory program that is minimalistic in approach. This program is available to first-time offenders who are identified as “self-correctors” for a variety of different drug offenses.

See the FODP Application here.

See the FODP Brochure here.

Primary Program Requirements for the Tarrant County FODP

In order to be considered for the FODP, a defendant must be approved by the Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The individual in the First Offender Drug Program is a first time offender who would be considered a “self-corrector.”

The First Offender Drug Program is designed to be minimalistic, and defendants will receive minimum supervision. Defendants are required to provide the following upon their entry into the program:

  1. Proof of Education (HS Diploma or equivalent, transcript or proof of current enrollment in high school, GED program or college); and
  2. Pay program fees in full. If a defendant is unable to pay in full at the beginning of the program, all fees are expected to be paid at least ONE week PRIOR to graduation date.
  • There are no progressive sanctions.
  • Any program violation is cause for immediate removal from the program.
  • Termination from First Offender Drug Program will result in the defendant’s case proceeding to formal sentencing based upon the original plea.

List of Eligible Offenses for the First Offender Drug Program

The Following Offenses may be Eligible for FODP:

  1. Possession of Controlled Substance < 1 Gram
  2. Possession of Controlled Substance, 1-4 Grams
  3. Possession of Controlled Substance < 2 Ounces
  4. Possession of Marijuana < 2 Ounces
  5. Possession of Marijuana, 2-4 Ounces
  6. Drug Free Zone, Controlled Substance < 28 Grams
  7. Drug Free Zone Marihuana 2-4 Ounces
  8. Forging or Altering Prescription
  9. Possession of Dangerous Drug
  10. Diversion of a Controlled Substance
  11. Attempt of any above listed offenses

Applicant cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication, nor currently have any pending case for offenses other than Class C misdemeanors.

What are the Costs of the Program?

The program fees listed below cover the costs of all required drug testing and classes. Keep in mind, that the costs of this program are substantially less than court costs, fines, and probation fees on a typical drug case.

Felony Case $550*, includes:

  • 180-day program
  • Urinalysis 2 x per month
  • 2 Hair follicle tests
  • Short term education class

Misdemeanor Case $350*, includes:

  • 90-day program
  • Urinalysis 2 x per month
  • Short term education class

* Program fees are expected to be paid full at the time the applicant enters the program. If an applicant is unable to pay in full at the beginning of the program, all fees are expected to be paid at least one week prior to graduation.

Entry Process – Steps to Dismissal of Your Drug Case

STEP 1: Defendant consults with his/her criminal defense attorney about participating in the First Offender Drug Program.

STEP 2: Defendant and his/her attorney fill out the one page application on this website and email the application to CDA—FODP@tarrantcountytx.gov.

A COMPLETED APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED WITHIN 90 DAYS OF CASE FILING. NO EXCEPTIONS.

FODP Application

STEP 3: Assistant Criminal District Attorney approves or denies defendant for the First Offender Drug Program and e-mails the decision to the Case Manager.

STEP 4: Administrative Assistant will notify the criminal defense attorney and the originating court coordinator of defendant’s approval or denial.

STEP 5: If approved, the originating court coordinator will set plea date and time and notify the criminal defense attorney, the Criminal District Attorney’s Office, Court Clerk, and the Case Manager.

STEP 6: Court Coordinator will email the Auxiliary Court Coordinator to set plea in mainframe and notify the Assistant Criminal District Attorney.

STEP 7: Defendant will appear in appropriate court, enter guilty plea, and formally commence the First Offender Drug Program.

STEP 8: Case(s) are transferred to appropriate court for program management (D372 or CCC2). Once defendant completes the First Offender Drug Program, the District Attorney will file a Motion to Dismiss the criminal case. The case will not result in a conviction.

Misdemeanor Program Requirements

MISDEMEANOR FIRST OFFENDER DRUG COURT-County Criminal Court No. 2

Defendants are scheduled for two (2) appearances in court. Defendants will have an admission court date and a date for dismissal. The Court Coordinator will set the dismissal court date the day the defendant is admitted and notify Assistant Criminal District Attorney, Case Manager and Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer.

On admission day, defendants will:

  1. Receive a reminder to report to Case Manager Friday at 8:00 AM to submit a UA
  2. Be given notice that court is scheduled for Fridays at 9:30AM
  3. Complete plea agreement; and
  4. Complete program’s admission paperwork.
  • The length of the misdemeanor program is 90 days.
  • The cost of the misdemeanor program is $350, which includes all testing and classes.
  • The participant will provide 2 clean Urinalysis each month.
  • The participant will complete a short term education or chemical dependency class.

If the defendant violates any term or condition of the program, a termination letter is completed by the Case Manager and signed by the presiding judge. The Court Coordinator will immediately notify the Assistant Criminal District Attorney and criminal defense lawyer with the setting date for the punishment hearing.

TERMINATION FROM THE FIRST OFFENDER DRUG PROGRAM WILL RESULT IN A SENTENCING HEARING WITH PUNISHMENT SET BY THE COURT WITHIN THE FULL RANGE OF PUNISHMENT.

If the defendant successfully completes the program, on the dismissal court date, the Assistant Criminal District Attorney will present to the Judge a Motion to Dismiss the case.

Felony Program Requirements

FELONY FIRST OFFENDER DRUG COURT– 372nd District Court

Defendants are scheduled one (1) appearance in court. The scheduled appearance is for admission to the program.

On admission day, defendants will:

  1. Report to Case Manager Monday at 1:00 PM to submit a UA
  2. Report to court at 2:00 PM;
  3. Complete plea agreement; and
  4. Complete program’s admission paperwork.
  • The length of the felony program is 180 days.
  • The cost of the misdemeanor program is $550, which includes all testing and classes.
  • The participant will provide 2 clean Urinalysis each month.
  • The participant will provide 2 clean hair drug tests.
  • The participant will complete a short term education or chemical dependency class.

If the defendant violates any term or condition of the program, a termination letter is completed by the Case Manager and signed by the presiding judge. Court Coordinator will immediately notify the Assistant Criminal District Attorney and Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer with the setting the date for the punishment hearing.

TERMINATION FROM THE FIRST OFFENDER DRUG PROGRAM WILL RESULT IN A SENTENCING HEARING WITH PUNISHMENT SET BY THE COURT WITHIN THE FULL RANGE OF PUNISHMENT.

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the Assistant Criminal District Attorney will present to the Judge a Motion to Dismiss the case. A copy will be given to the defendant on a scheduled date in the Drug Court offices. (Judge Wisch does not see the defendant for dismissal if he or she successfully complete the program.)

Contact our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys to See If Your Case Qualifies for the Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program

If you believe that your case might qualify for the FODP laid out above, please call Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC today. Our team of Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers will screen your case and let you know whether you might be a good candidate. Do not wait to call. There are strict time limits to apply for FODP.

Call Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC today at (817) 993-9249.

Court Contact Information

MISDEMEANOR FIRST OFFENDER DRUG COURT-CCC2 (6th Floor) Judge Carey F. Walker

  • Court is Fridays at 9:30AM (unless otherwise noted)
  • Coordinator: Mary Chaisson, 817-884-1340,  mlchaisson@tarrantcounty.com

FELONY FIRST OFFENDER DRUG COURT- D372 (6th Floor) Judge Scott Wisch

  • Court is on Mondays at 4:00 PM (unless otherwise noted)
  • Coordinator: Lorrie Parham, 817-884-2995,  lparham2@tarrantcounty.com

FIRST OFFENDER DRUG PROGRAM – (817) 884-2618

FORT WORTH

Primary Location
209 W. 8th St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817.993.9249

KELLER

*By Appointment Only
204 S. Main St #195
Keller, Texas 76248
817.482.6770

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