Court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation is something a defendant of a drug- or alcohol-related crime might do instead of going to jail. It is a viable alternative when the judge and prosecution believe the defendant would benefit from rehabilitation.

As the name implies, court ordered drug and alcohol rehab is a mandatory sentence ordered by a judge as part of an official court ruling. Court ordered rehabilitation is typically in lieu of a prison term resulting from a crime committed when an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There is a strong association between substance abuse and criminal behavior. In some cases, people who have jobs and families party a bit too hard then suffer a lapse in judgment that leads to a relatively minor crime. In other cases, addiction and physical dependence on drugs or alcohol drives someone to steal, deal drugs, or engage in other illegal activity as a way to finance their substance abuse problem.

In many instances, rehabilitating defendants is more beneficial to the community than putting them in jail. A few months of rehabilitation costs less than years of imprisonment. Court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation could reduce crime by getting habitual criminals the substance abuse help they need. Rehabilitation helps people get back to their normal lives and back to work, which benefits the community as a whole.

The Link between Crime and Substance Abuse

There is a strong association between substance abuse and crime. Approximately 80 percent of offenders abuse alcohol or drugs, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and half of all inmates are clinically addicted. Six out of ten people arrested for most types of crimes test positive for illegal drugs at the time of their arrest.

Court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation might be the only hope for some people struggling with substance abuse. Sadly, 60 to 80 percent of addicted offenders drop out of rehabilitation prematurely unless supervised by a court.

Someone could get court ordered rehab instead of jail time if he or she meets certain qualifications set by county, state and federal governments. When deciding if court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation is appropriate for a defendant, a judge considers whether:

  • The crime committed was a direct or indirect result of dependence or addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • The crime was violent or nonviolent
  • The defendant would benefit from rehabilitation
  • The defendant qualifies for a probation sentence

Drug Courts: The Muscle Behind Court Ordered Rehab

Some communities have drug courts that serve as alternatives to conventional criminal courts. The intent of these drug courts is to help addicted offenders get the rehabilitation they need instead of going to overcrowded prisons.

While participation in a drug court is not mandatory, defendants must plead guilty to the charges to be eligible for participation in a drug court. The defendant must also demonstrate willingness to participate in and complete the court mandated treatment.

Court ordered rehab is compulsory, meaning the defendant must complete the amount of rehabilitation detailed in the court ruling or face jail time. Once admitted into the rehabilitation facility, the offender must comply with the terms of the sentence, which may include:

  • Staying several months in an inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility
  • Compulsory participation in the court-ordered substance abuse treatments
  • Complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol
  • Random drug and alcohol tests
  • Regular meetings and updates with court-appointed officials
  • Community service

Court Ordered Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are similar to voluntary programs, in that they include several stages of recovery. First, the individual goes through detoxification and withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Next, the person participates in rehabilitation programs that offer behavior modification and other approaches.

Court ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation helps the individual discover the factors that led him or her to substance abuse, deal with the problems resulting from substance abuse, recognize situations that could lead to substance abuse in the future, and learn how to live drug-free lives.