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Breaking Down Tarrant County’s First Offender Drug Program

By January 5, 2024February 12th, 2024Diversion Programs, Drug Crimes, Drug Possession, FODP

Breaking Down Tarrant County's First Offender Drug Program

Drug crimes are some of the most common criminal offenses nationwide, but are nevertheless charged quite severely. This is particularly true in Texas, which prosecutes drug crimes more aggressively than most other states.

Fortunately, if you are charged with a drug crime in Tarrant County, you may be able to enter the First Offender Drug Program (FODP), a diversion program Tarrant county offers for first-time drug crime defendants.

This valuable program is minimally supervised, unlike rehab programs, and allows defendants an opportunity to correct their behavior and work towards becoming more productive members of society. If you fulfill all of the program requirements, your case will be dismissed.

Below, we’re going to detail eligibility criteria for the FODP, as well as what you can expect if you enter the program.

FODP Program Objectives and Eligibility

The objective of the FODP is to divert first-time, low-risk drug offenders to a court-supervised program intended to rehabilitate offenders and promote sobriety. The program is also intended to lessen the burden of drug crimes on the criminal justice system.

To be eligible for the FODP, you must not have any prior drug crime arrests or convictions on your criminal record. Your offense must also fall under the eligible defenses outlined for the program, and you must provide proof of education.

The following offenses are eligible for the FODP:

  • Possession of <1 gram of a controlled substance
  • Possession of 1-4 grams of a controlled substance
  • Possession of <2 ounces of a controlled substance
  • Possession of <2 ounces of marijuana
  • Possession of 2-4 ounces of marijuana
  • Possession of >28 grams of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone
  • Possession of 2-4 ounces of marijuana in a drug-free zone
  • Forging or altering a prescription
  • Possession of a dangerous drug
  • Diversion of a controlled substance
  • Attempt of any of the above offenses

You must also meet the following criteria at enrollment:

  • Have not have been convicted of, have past community supervision for, or have any pending cases for other criminal offenses, except for Class C misdemeanors.
  • Have not participated in other diversion programs previously
  • Must be able to present Proof of Education (HS diploma or equivalent, or transcript of current enrollment in HS, GED program, or college)
  • Must pay program fees in full at the beginning of the program, or at least one week prior to graduation

FODP Program Requirements

The FODP lays out program requirements and costs for both misdemeanor and felony-level drug crime offenders.

For misdemeanor offenders:

  • $350 fee to cover drug testing and classes
  • 90-day program
  • Twice monthly urine testing for drugs
  • Short term education class

For felony-level offenders:

  • $550 fee to cover drug testing and classes
  • 180-day program
  • Twice monthly urine testing for drugs
  • Two hair tests while enrolled
  • Short term education class

Failure to meet these requirements or testing positive for controlled substances will terminate your involvement in the program.

FODP Judicial Process

Tarrant County Drug LawyerIf you feel that you may qualify for the FODP, you may apply for the program. If your application is approved, you will appear in court and enter a guilty plea, and the judge will accept the plea and postpone sentencing pending completion of the FODP.

If you complete the FODP successfully, you will be allowed to withdraw your guilty plea from the DA’s office, and your case will be dismissed. If you do not complete the program or are terminated, the case will move forward to sentencing based on your guilty plea.

If your case is dismissed, it is eligible for expunction, such that the arrest and court records are sealed from public view and will not show up on a criminal background check.

If you are facing drug charges and feel you may quality for the FODP, speak to your Fort Worth criminal defense attorney about applying.

About the Author:

After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.