Illicit Drug Court Diversion Program

The Illicit Drugs Court Diversion Program aims to address defendants’ drug use in its early stages and reduce further drug-related offending.

If you plead guilty to eligible drug charges in a Magistrates Court or Childrens (Magistrates) Court, you may be directed to attend and complete a drug assessment and education session.

In the Magistrates Court, the magistrate directs you to this session by sentencing you to a ‘recognisance order’ (good behaviour bond), which is an agreement between you and the court that you will be of good behaviour for a period of time.

This order has a condition that you attend and satisfactorily participate in a drug assessment and education session, and you won’t attend under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

In a Childrens (Magistrates) Court, the magistrate directs the child to attend a drug assessment and education session on a stated date.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for court diversion if you’re charged with one or more of these offences under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986:

  • possessing a dangerous drug— if the drug was for personal use and is prescribed in, and of a quantity less than the amount prescribed in, schedule 1 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015
  • possess anything used in connection with the commission of a crime under Part 2 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986—if the thing was for personal use
  • possess things used for the administration, consumption or smoking of a dangerous drug
  • fail to take reasonable care of a syringe
  • fail to dispose of a syringe.

You must also:

  • plead guilty to all offences
  • not have been given two previous diversion alternatives (including police diversion).
  • have no pending charges or convictions for offences of a sexual nature or certain drug offences dealt with on indictment, such as trafficking; or indictable offences involving violence against another person, other than certain offences specified in s. 15E of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

How to proceed

Speak to your legal representative or court staff who can complete an assessment form on your behalf. This form is given to the magistrate and helps them decide if you can attend a drug assessment and education session.

Attending the session

The session lasts no more than two hours and is held in person. This could be one-on-one or a group session. This session is not available by phone.

You may bring a support person, though children are not allowed to attend. Childminding is not provided.

Plan to arrive before your appointment time, as the counsellor may not see you if you’re late.

Rescheduling the session

These sessions are ordered by the court and it’s not usually possible to reschedule.

A Diversion and Referral Services Officer might consider a request to reschedule. You may need to provide documents, such as a medical certificate or a letter from an employer, to show why you can’t attend (for reasons out of your control).

If you don’t attend the session

You may be in breach of a court order if you:

  • don’t attend the drug assessment and education session on time
  • don’t satisfactorily participate in the session
  • attend under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Your matter may be returned to the court. If this happens, you’ll receive a notice of the court date in the mail. The magistrate may forfeit your recognisance—usually involving the loss of money—and may resentence you on your original offences.

The magistrate may also issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t attend court.

Further sessions

You need only do one session to comply with your order. However, if you want to complete further drug assessment and education sessions, discuss this with your counsellor during the session.

Paying the offender levy

By law, if you’re convicted of an offence, you must pay the offender levy even if a conviction isn’t recorded. Read more about the offender levy.

Difference between DAAR and Illicit Drugs Court Diversion

Illicit Drugs Court Diversion (IDCD) is available to you only if you’re charged under specific drug-related offences and you meet other criteria.

The DAAR course is available to you if your drug or alcohol use contributed to your offending, regardless of the charge. See more information about the DAAR course.

Contact us for more details about the IDCD course.