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Court-Ordered Rehab

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

January 11, 2022 (Originally Published)

November 29, 2023 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

Court-ordered rehab is increasingly used as a valid alternative form of sentencing.

There are millions of people in the United States suffering from addiction to drink or drugs. The latest data from NSDUH 2020 (the National Survey on Drug Use and Health) shows 40 million people in the US have substance use disorder and 28.5 million have alcohol use disorder. While there are treatment programs, like our Orange County rehab, to help people, not everyone is getting the treatment they need.

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Addiction doesn’t only affect the individual, though, but ripples outward to friends, family, the community, and society more broadly.

Inflaming the situation is a cavernous treatment gap, with most estimates suggesting only one in ten people who need addiction treatment actually get the help they need.

In the worst scenario, addiction can trigger myriad legal issues, and this is where court-ordered drug rehabilitation programs can be invaluable.

What is Court-Ordered Rehab?

In the past, addiction was viewed as a form of moral failing and treated as a criminal matter. Over the years, medical and scientific breakthroughs have demonstrated that addiction is really a public health issue. As such, rehabilitation rather than incarceration can be a more fitting sentence for some convicted of drug-related or alcohol-related crime.

Active addiction to alcohol or drugs often leads people to commit crimes while under the influence of substances, and also to get funds to obtain the substance. Data shows that almost one in five prisoners committed the offense they are jailed for to obtain money for drugs.

Some of the most common crimes fueled by alcohol and drugs include:

  • DUIs
  • Domestic violence
  • Property crime

To obtain court-ordered drug treatment in place of a prison sentence, an initial screening investigation is required. The offender’s loved ones can request this screening. The screening is conducted by addiction specialists and police officers.

The offender is first remanded into custody. Here, professional addiction specialists can evaluate whether the person is unable to exercise control over their actions due to the health problems caused by alcohol abuse or substance abuse.

Assuming the addiction specialists and police officers consider the person is a danger, either to themselves or others, the court issues an emergency court order. A hearing is then scheduled.

At this hearing, the offender, their loved ones, and their lawyer can all ask the judge for court-appointed rehab. The final decision rests with the judge. If the judge decides that court-ordered rehab is the most expedient approach to sentencing, no charges will be dropped until the offender finished the rehabilitation program.

This hearing also presents the offender with the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty of the crime in question.

The following situations are all examples where a person can be mandated to attend rehab by a court:

  • DUIs: Following a DUI (driving under the influence) offense, the court sometimes requires addiction treatment or substance abuse education before you get your driver’s license back. Even a first DUI offense could see you lose your license for between 3 and 9 months, depending on the state. Multiple DUI offenders often face potential jail time. With the right legal representation, you may be able to request a reduced sentence in exchange for engaging with an approved court-ordered rehab program.
  • Employer mandate: If your performance at work is impaired by your substance abuse, or if you are caught using alcohol or drugs at work, your employer has the right to insist that you complete an addiction treatment program before returning to the workplace. If this happens, you could seek support from your EAP (employee assistance program) at work to get the help you need.
  • Child custody requirement: Some people must attend addiction treatment to regain custody of their kids from the authorities. You can either schedule this treatment directly, or you can ask your attorney to make the arrangements on your behalf.

A judge will only issue court-appointed rehab if the following criteria are satisfied:

  • The defendant has not attended court-ordered rehab in the past
  • It was a non-violent crime
  • The offense was the result – directly or indirectly – of alcohol dependence or drug dependence
  • The defendant qualifies for a probationary sentence
  • The court fully believes the defendant would benefit from attending rehab
court ordered rehab

Violating Court-Ordered Rehab

If you are ordered to attend a rehab program by a judge, you must complete this program.

Violating court-ordered rehab means you would face being prosecuted to the full extent of the law for the original crime.

If you are convicted of certain crimes eligible for court-ordered rehab instead of jail time, you could choose to plead guilty. This means you will be convicted of the crime, though, and it also means you will need to deal with any associated jail time or fines. With court-appointed rehab, by contrast, you get the chance to kickstart your recovery the right way, and you also avoid being penalized or prosecuted for your substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder.

If you complete the court-ordered rehabilitation program, all charges are dropped. The crime will not appear on your criminal record either. Failing to complete the program forfeits this bargain.

How to get court ordered rehab, then?

Finding a Court-Appointed Rehab

If you find yourself needing to engage with court-ordered rehab, you are required to pay for the treatment, but this means you can also choose the rehab center.

Insurance often pays for some or all of the treatment program, so don’t let the perceived cost put you off getting the help you need.

Look for a local treatment center that will accommodate court-ordered rehab and get the process started. This kicks off with an intake screening by phone.

Depending on the results of this screening, the rehab center will then provide your parole officer with a letter of acceptance. This document will be passed on to your attorney and the court.

Before engaging with treatment, you sign a release form so that parole services, legal counsel, and the court can be updated on your progress. Your case manager will take care of this liaison.

When you finish your treatment program, your case manager supplies the above parties with a letter of completion.

Court-Ordered Rehab in Los Angeles

If you need to attend court ordered rehab Los Angeles, ask friends and family for advice concerning suitable treatment centers. Your doctor may also have some suggestions.

If this fails to generate any workable options, try searching online for appropriate drug and alcohol rehabs in Los Angeles.

Renaissance Recovery’s Rehab Program

If you are in a situation where you need to find a rehab due to a court mandate, our team at Renaissance Recovery can help you. Please reach out to us by filling out a contact form.

Alternatively, shortcut the process and call us today at 866.330.9449.

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At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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