How To Get a Court Ordered Rehab?

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How to get a court ordered rehab? 

There are two ways to get a court ordered rehab. The first approach is by formerly requesting one via the local courts or a drug court. The second way is by getting emergency court ordered rehab.

If an addict is taken to court because of committing a crime under the influence of drug or alcohol abuse, they may get a court mandated rehab. 

A court ordered rehab is an alternative to incarceration or punishment. As the name suggests, a court ordered rehab is mandatory rehab from substance abuse as ordered by a court ruling. 

It is common for people with drug or alcohol addiction to commit non-violent crimes, e.g., petty theft, drunk driving, trespassing while intoxicated, etc. 

When arrested and presented to a court, the judge may rule that the addict seek treatment. 

In criminal cases, the requirement for court ordered rehab is: 

  • The addict committed a non-violent crime. 
  • The crime committed was either directly or indirectly as a result of substance abuse. 
  • The court believes the offender will benefit from court ordered rehab. 
  • The offender qualifies for probation. 

When the court determines that addiction was a factor in the addict's criminal actions, the judge may order rehab instead of sentencing the offender to jail time. 

Non-criminal cases often involve family members, friends, or loved ones seeking treatment on behalf of the addict. In such cases, the loved ones pursue court ordered rehab as a last resort. 

Family members can get court ordered treatment for their loved ones by: 

  • Filing a petition in good faith. This means that you believe the person is a danger to themselves and others. The individual lacks self-control of their drug or alcohol abuse. 
  • The petition requests for a screening investigation. It must contain information about the area of jurisdiction that the person resides and not your jurisdiction if there's a difference. 
  • Providing evidence at court that proves the addict is a danger to themselves and others. 
  • Provide evidence that the addict is no longer able to make a rational decision, specifically on the issue of whether or not they need drug and alcohol rehab. 

Court mandated rehab is an option. It requires the person struggling with substance abuse to go through specific steps and meet the requirements for the judge to make such a ruling. 

What is the goal of court-ordered rehab? 

The goal of court ordered rehab is to get the person struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to attend rehab. Millions of people struggle with substance abuse. 

Unfortunately, most people with substance abuse disorder are in denial. Most cannot bring themselves to admit that they need addiction treatment. 

A court ordered rehab or court mandated rehab is also known as an involuntary treatment. The court mandated treatment gets the addict into a drug or alcohol rehab, allowing them to face the addiction problem. 

Medical and Scientific breakthroughs have provided enough evidence that shows substance abuse is a public health issue.

A study by Katherine J. Karriker-Jaffe and others is one of the extensive studies that document alcohol dependency as a public health issue that harms communities, families, workplaces, and others [1]. 

Substance abuse can compel individuals to commit crimes while under the influence to get the substance.

For instance, alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances. Alcohol alone fuels 40% of violent crimes and domestic abuse cases [2].  

Drunk-driving results in almost 9000 casualties and 260 deaths annually. A substantial amount of cases that lead to jail time are drug-related.

The most prevalent crimes are domestic violence, DUI, and property crimes. Moreover, half of the prison inmates meet the criteria for clinical addiction [3]. 

Involuntary rehab helps offenders avoid jail time and get the help they need. Incarceration will not solve the underlying issues that fuel the addiction.

Instead, a court ordered treatment makes it compulsory for the addict to attend rehab. The idea is that by seeking addiction treatment, the addict will realize that they need to change. 

Court mandated treatment helps the individual in need of substance abuse treatment instead of facing the full extent of the law due to their offense.

The addict gets to seek treatment and hopefully break the addiction cycle. Court ordered rehab aims to make the community safer by preventing those struggling with substance abuse from committing future offenses. 

People who enter a rehab program and complete treatment have a higher chance of leading sober lives. Alcohol or drug rehab helps the patient detox and provides tools and resources that will help them lead better lives.

Access to drug or alcohol treatment and support can end the alcohol or drug abuse and the crime. 

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What are the criteria for court-ordered rehab? 

Court-ordered rehab is not available for all criminal offenders. If you or your loved one is convicted while under the influence of alcohol or drug abuse, you may get court-ordered rehabilitation if you meet the following criteria: 

  • The offense is non-violent and is a direct or indirect result of substance addiction. 

A non-violent crime is defined as one that does not involve the use or threat of force. Some examples of non-violent crime include the possession of drug or drug-related paraphernalia, fraud, or selling or manufacturing drugs.

These drug offenses are punishable by jail time. However, depending on the severity of the offense, the offender may get court-ordered drug rehab. 

  • The offense is a drug-related crime that directly or indirectly involves drug possession and distribution. 

If you or your loved one are caught in possession of illicit drugs, the judge may offer the option of court-ordered drug rehab instead of jail time. 

  • The offender has no record of receiving alcohol or drug addiction treatment.  

There are cases where the person had the opportunity to visit a treatment centre and get help for the substance use disorder that resulted in the criminal offense.

If the judge decides that the offender is better off getting treatment than incarceration, they will provide the option of a court-ordered rehab program. 

  • The person is a first-time offender.  

If the crime does not warrant a mandatory minimum sentence and is a first-time offense, the court is likely to be more lenient. Such cases may include the option of court-ordered drug or alcohol rehab. 

  • The offender is willing to enter a treatment programme.  

In criminal cases, the offender must express their willingness to comply with the requirement for court-ordered rehab.

The court should also be satisfied that necessary arrangements have been made to access drug/alcohol treatment. 

A court-ordered rehab requires the offender to enter a treatment program. The offender may have to choose between the two treatment options, inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Other addiction treatment options such as a 12-steps program, individual and group counselling, or other forms of acceptable treatment may also be made available. 

What are the different types of court-ordered rehab? 

The courts use court-ordered treatment as a valid form of alternative sentencing. The court system has different types of court-ordered rehab. They include: 

1. Alcohol education programme 

This program is for people caught drunk driving, drunk and disorderly, or people operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

If it is determined that the offender also requires mental health services, they may get a court order to seek addiction and psychiatric care.

The alcohol education programme is designed to help offenders make informed decisions to avoid re-offending in the future.

The program may last 10-15 weeks. The charges are dropped once completed. Alternatively, the charges may be dropped if the offender enrols in the program before getting the court order. 

2. Drug education and community service. 

This program is eligible for those caught in possession of drugs or drug-related paraphernalia. A person is not eligible if they have attended this program before.

Investigations carried out on behalf of the court will determine whether the offender is eligible for this program. The program may last about 15 weeks. 

3. Accelerated pretrial rehabilitation programme. 

This court-ordered rehab is for offenders with clear rehabilitation needs. There are strict requirements for attending this drug treatment program, e.g., the offender should be a first-time offender, with no cases of felony.

Once it is determined that the offender is eligible for this program, they will be placed under the supervision of the court support services department (CSSD).

The defendant is acquitted of all charges once they complete treatment. 

Other court-ordered treatment requirements include: 

Drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR).  

The court orders treatment once it is determined that the offender has substance use disorders. 

Alcohol treatment requirements (ATR).  

ATR is targeted at offenders with alcohol abuse (AUD) issues and other co-existing needs, e.g., certain mental health needs and social and housing problems. 

The programme is for the offender who requires an intensive, specialist, care-planned treatment such as detox, residential drug/alcohol rehabilitation, and integrated care that will involve clinical and medical teams. 

Mental health treatment requirement (MHTR).  

The court system also offers alternative sentencing for offenders with certain mental health conditions.

Treatment may be provided at an independent hospital or at a rehab facility to treat addiction and the patient's psychological needs. 

The court may also order group counselling, residential counselling, detox and inpatient rehab, and other educational programs, e.g., anger management.  [5]


The process of getting court-ordered rehab 

For criminal cases, the process of getting a court-ordered rehab is as follows: 

At the police station, the suspect is arrested and charged by the police. The police may also take a drug test. If the test comes positive, the alcohol or drug user may be offered a drug worker or L&D service(Liaison and Diversion service).

Other parties that may get involved are the probation provider and the CMHT (community mental health team). 

The suspect will be arraigned in court after they've been found guilty. The NPS (national probation service) is required to deliver a pre-sentence report during the trial.

The offender may plead guilty and communicate a willingness to enter a treatment program. After that, the court may order the offender to enrol in a treatment facility. 

Aside from the NPS, a licensed treatment provider in the same jurisdiction and the CRC (community rehabilitation company) may participate in the court case.

Treatment placement for the offender is a coordinated effort between the court team, offender, and family members. 

After the court orders rehab, the offender will be enrolled at a drug or alcohol treatment centre to treat the addiction adequately. It is common for offenders to experience a treatment placement tailored to meet their individual needs.  

A probation officer will supervise the offender to ensure that they participate in the rehab program. The rehab centre will also liaise with your probation officer on supervision of your sentence and treatment response. 

Once you complete rehab, the charges against you may be dropped or significantly reduced. The court will likely continue to monitor you or your loved one's progress once your complete addiction treatment for alcohol or drug use.

If you commit another drug-related offense, the court will impose more stringent consequences. 

Emergency court-ordered rehab 

Emergency court-ordered rehab involves filing a petition via the local courts or the drug court. You can either file this petition online or in person.

Alternatively, you can seek the assistance of an attorney to complete the process of filing a court-ordered rehab for a loved one. 

An emergency court order offers relief to family members whose lives have been disrupted by a loved one's addiction.

The main requirement is that the family members prove that their loved one lacks the self-control to overcome the drug and alcohol addiction.  

What's more, you have to prove that the addicted loved one risks harming themselves or others. 

Once the court reviews your petition, they'll determine whether there's probable cause to require involuntary treatment for a loved one. A hearing will be scheduled within 14 days if they find probable cause.  

During this time, your loved one will be provided with an attorney and assessed by two health care professionals to determine the need for treatment.

The medical professional may also assess the patient's mental health condition to determine their treatment needs comprehensively. 

Depending on the situation, an emergency court-ordered rehab for drug and alcohol treatment may be mandated within 60 to 360 days.

Depending on their needs, the court will also determine which treatment option can adequately treat you or your loved one. 

How effective is court-ordered rehab? 

Court-ordered rehab is just as effective as voluntary rehab. In most cases, the legal pressure compels the addict to commit to treatment. Most addicts have never fought substance addiction before.

When faced with a court order, some may take it as a sign that they need to change their lives. 

It is frustrating to see a loved one destroy themselves with addiction. Luckily, many rehab facilities are willing to provide medical advice and support to you and your loved one.

Many drugs and alcohol rehab centres offer professional intervention services to help communicate the need for rehab to your loved one. You can try the intervention approach before opting for court-ordered rehab. 

Drug and alcohol treatment programs are effective at achieving long-term sobriety.

When the court orders you or your loved one to attend a rehab facility, you get the chance to uncover the underlying factors fuelling the addiction. You also learn life skills that will help you overcome the urge to take drugs or alcohol. 

Whether voluntary or involuntary treatment, rehab comes with benefits that can positively transform one's life.

There are cases where the person lost self-control over the addiction because they tried to quit before, but they were unable. 

Thanks to court-ordered rehab, you get to work with an extensive medical team’s reserve to overcome the addiction.

The medical professionals help you to safely manage the withdrawal symptoms by administering medications such as benzodiazepines. 

Many people enter court-ordered rehab involuntarily. But once they enter rehab, they may realise the harm of addiction and get motivated to change. 

Paying for court-ordered rehab 

You are the one to pay for the court-ordered rehab and the court hearings. The court does not make any financial arrangements for rehab. You can choose a private drug or alcohol treatment facility that's budget friendly.

Also, you can check out sites such as American addiction centres, SAMHSA, and UK Rehab for quality, low-cost rehab options. 

Your treatment provider, the court, and your probation officer will medically discharge you after you successfully complete rehab. 

It is never too late to seek a drug-free life. You can speak to an admission specialist at a rehab centre or your GP to learn more about court-ordered rehab, drug, and addiction treatment services. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: November 11, 2023