Drug Court and Addiction Rehabilitation

Last Edited: August 26, 2019

Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC

Clinically Reviewed
Andrew Lancaster, LPC, MAC

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

drug court

How Rehabilitation Can Help You Avoid Jail

When a person is in front of a judge for committing a crime in Criminal court, the judge may decide to refer the person to Drug court if the person was high or drunk during the crime. The goal of Drug court is to help people who have committed crimes while high or drunk get help for their addiction and thus, hopefully, get the person on the right track again.

In order to be able to attend a rehab program instead of serving time in jail, the judge in Criminal court may send you directly to rehab. The amount of time it takes to complete your treatment may be taken off of your sentence. In addition, your lawyer may make a deal with the prosecutor ahead of time for the same sentencing or the Criminal court judge may refer you to Drug Court if you are eligible. It is important to keep in mind that jurisdictions make their own laws. They can vary but these steps are generally the same everywhere with variations.

You must be eligible for Drug court in order for the Criminal court judge to send you there. Eligibility to go to Drug court and thus use rehabilitation as part of your sentence for time served can include a few conditions (with or without variations.) These conditions can include the following: you must plead guilty of the crime you are being accused of (look into getting your record expunged of this crime after you have appropriately served your time for the crime,) this is your first or second crime, you haven’t committed a sexual offense, you have no history of violence, you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you were high or drunk during the time you were committing the crime, or it’s likely that the addiction was the reason that you committed the crime.

If you are eligible for Drug court, is voluntary but you must be willing to commit to the treatment program and actively participate in it. Other conditions of Drug court agreements usually include a light sentence (between one and two years,) no drug and/or alcohol use, random drug testing, multiple appearances in court for progress reports to the judge and community service.

Many people believe that it is a waste of time for a judge to send an addicted person to rehab because the addicted person must want to recover from their addiction. However, this is not the case. Many times, once the person has been through detox, he or she is able to think more clearly and begins to rigorously participate in the program, actively seeking a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, not all rehab facilities take patients who have been ordered to rehab by a judge. It is your responsibility to find one that does and that you can afford. You will be responsible for the cost of the rehab. Many facilities will take your medical insurance or charge on a sliding scale based on your income. Many also take payments.

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