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By Benson Varghese

Published on: September 3rd, 2020 at 4:08 PM
Last Updated: October 23rd, 2020 at 9:43 AM

Drug crimes are prevalent in Tarrant County and across the state of Texas. In fact, you will probably be hard pressed to find an adult who has not been exposed, impacted or influenced – either directly or indirectly – by drugs at some point in his or her life. Not surprisingly, courts are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders, many of whom find themselves in the justice system for the first time and are now facing a possible criminal record. Fortunately, there is a program in Tarrant County designed to help first-time, low-level offenders keep their record clean — by staying clean. It’s called the Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program (FODP) and it may be right for you or a loved one.

What is the Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program?

The Tarrant County First Offender Drug Program, or FODP, is a limited supervision program for first-time drug offenders who would be considered a “self-corrector.” One of the greatest benefits of the First Offender Drug Program is that, upon successful completion of the program, your case will be dismissed and your arrest record will eligible for an expunction. Our attorneys have successfully guided individuals through FODP and are available to assist you if you qualify for this program.

In order to be considered for the First Offender Drug Program, a defendant must be approved by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Participants who are accepted into the program will receive minimum supervision.

Who is Eligible for the First Offender Drug Program?

To be eligible for FODP, the applicant cannot have been convicted, have current or past community supervision or deferred adjudication, nor currently have any other pending offenses other than Class C misdemeanors.

What Offenses are Eligible for FODP?

The following offenses may be eligible for FODP:

  • Possession of Controlled Substance, under 1 gram
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, 1-4 grams
  • Possession of Controlled Substance under 2 ounces
  • Possession of Marijuana under 2 ounces
  • Possession of Marijuana 2-4 ounces
  • Drug-Free Zone, Controlled Substance under 28 grams
  • Drug-Free Zone, Marijuana 2-4 ounces
  • Forging or Altering Prescription
  • Possession of Dangerous Drug
  • Diversion of a Controlled Substance
  • Attempt of any above-listed offense

What are the Program Fees for the First Offender Drug Program?

The felony program is 180 days long and costs $550. The misdemeanor program is 90 days and costs $350. The program cost covers the costs of drug testing and education classes required for the program.

What is the Entry Process for First Offender Drug Program?

  1. A defendant speaks with his/her attorney about participating in the First Offender Drug Program.
  2. A defendant and his/her attorney will fill out the one-page application. A completed application must be submitted within 90 days of case filing.
  3. An Assistant Criminal District Attorney approves or denies the defendant for the program.
  4. The FODP Administrative Assistant will notify the defendant’s attorney and the court coordinator (372nd for felony) or  (CCC2 for misdemeanor) of the defendant’s approval or denial. If approved, the court coordinator will set the plea date and time and notify the attorney, prosecutor, court clerk and case manager.
  5. Defendant will appear in appropriate court, enter a guilty plea, and formally begin the First Offender Drug Program.
  6. The program court coordinator will request transfer of the case to the appropriate court (D372nd or CCC2).
  7. The program’s court coordinator – 372nd for felony or CCC2 for misdemeanor – will set the case for final disposition after completion of the program, which is 180 days for felony and 90 days for misdemeanor.

What are the Conditions of the First Offender Drug Program?

The conditions of the program vary depending on whether your cases is a misdemeanor or felony. However, all participants will be required, at a minimum, to:

  • Abstain from drug use or underage consumption of alcohol
  • Undergo random drug testing (at least two each month for misdemeanor and four per month for felony)
  • Report to a case manager
  • Take drug education or life skills classes
  • Pay necessary fees

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.

What Happens if I Violate a Condition of the Program?

Any violation is cause for immediate removal from the program, which means your case will proceed to formal sentencing based on the original plea. In other words, there will be a sentencing hearing and the judge will assess your punishment, which means you will be exposed to to the full range of punishment of the charge.

Eligible for FODP? Contact our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys Today.

If you were charged with a drug offense and believe you may be eligible for FODP, contact our law office today. Our team has helped numerous clients gain entry and successfully complete the program. Call our law firm today to speak with an experienced attorney about Tarrant County’s First Offender Drug Program, 817-203-2220.