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Drug & alcohol counselling

If you have a number of drug related offences on your record, it is common for a magistrate to question whether you have a drug problem. If you do have a drug problem, it is wise to have drug counselling to help you abstain from drugs.

Under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act the court must take into account your attempts to rehabilitate yourself when imposing a sentence.

MERIT (Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment) is a program based in Local Courts in New South Wales that provides the opportunity for adult offenders who have drug problems to work, on a voluntary basis, towards rehabilitation as part of the bail process.

MERIT Teams, based in NSW Health conduct the assessment of participants. Based on the assessment, you may be accepted into MERIT to receive targeted drug treatment. The MERIT treatment program will be developed to match your individual needs. The Court will make your involvement in MERIT a condition of bail.

Participants are closely case-managed by the MERIT Team throughout the program and the Magistrate receives regular reports on your progress. The final hearing and sentence generally coincide with the completion of the MERIT program. Magistrates are then able to consider your progress in treatment as part of final sentencing. It is our experience that participants who commit to the program receive a marked discount in the penalty imposed.

Download a fact sheet about MERIT written by the Australian Government

Traffic Offender Program (Drug driving offenders only)

Completing a Traffic Offender Program demonstrates to the magistrate that you are serious about improving your driving behaviour. The Traffic Offenders Program is designed to increase peoples understanding of their social obligations, particularly where they relate to traffic laws. When sentencing you for drug driving, a magistrate may take into account any changes of attitude displayed since you attended the traffic offender program. The course is for normally 7 or 8 weeks, one day per week for approximately 2 hours.

Click here to view more information on the Traffic Offender Program

Who to Phone for Help About Drug Problems:

New South Wales
Alcohol and Drug Information Service.
Sydney: (02) 9361 000
Rural: 1800 422 599
If you use a mobile phone to call the numbers listed above you will be charged mobile rates.

Drug Court of New South Wales

The Drug Court is a specialist court for adult offenders with a drug dependency. It helps people overcome both drug dependency and criminal offending by diverting them into individual treatment programs supervised by the Court for a minimum of 12 months.

The Drug Court operates from the Parramatta Court complex and deals with people charged with matters that can be finalised in the Local or District Court.

More details about the Drug Court

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