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For people with addiction who are in trouble with the law, prison often does not address the root issue. Addiction treatment is often the long-term solution for people with substance use disorders.  

It is a sad, yet common, occurrence that a person with an SUD or AUD finds themselves in legal trouble. It might be a DUI or a non-violent criminal activity that puts them in that position. Either way, people with addictions often find themselves at odds with the law.

Sometimes, when drug or alcohol use is a factor in a criminal case, the judge will order a mandatory addiction treatment program as part of their ruling. This can even take the place of prison time for some offenders. This approach does two things:

  1. Lowers the prison population
  2. Creates a solution to the actual root problem of the individual
DUI - Potential court-ordered drug rehab offense

Who Qualifies for Court-ordered Rehab?

Usually, before a judge orders a person to attend court-ordered drug rehab, the offender must meet the following criteria:

  • The crime they committed was nonviolent
  • The court is convinced the offender will benefit more from rehab than a prison sentence
  • The offender’s addiction directly or indirectly influenced the offense to specific drugs
  • The person hasn’t attended court-ordered rehab before and qualifies for a probationary sentence

Under What Circumstances Do People Get Court-Ordered Rehab?

Typically, court-ordered rehab is ordered when the police, court, and medical professionals determine that the person poses a danger to himself and others because of their addiction. However, before this type of rehab is ordered, there must be a hearing where the offender, their family, and attorney request court-ordered rehab in place of a sentence.

Is There Proof That Court-Ordered Rehab Works?

Court-ordered drug rehab is still a relatively new concept, so there’s not much data and research on its efficacy. However, the few studies that have been conducted indicate that mandatory rehab has significantly reduced offenders’ likelihood of relapsing into a life of crime.

A study of over 2,500 adults in Europe and 2,700 women in America with co-existing disorders revealed that those who underwent mandatory rehab had massive overall health and behavioral improvements.

A similar study among juvenile males in America revealed that only about 13% of the candidates relapsed to their prior criminal behaviors.

Does Forced Rehab Work?

In most states, the law allows parents to force minors into drug and alcohol rehab. However, when an individual hits 18, the only way to compel a loved one into mandatory rehab is through a state’s involuntary commitment laws.

Court-ordered rehab is one of the easier ways to force someone into rehab. Nonetheless, some instances call for voluntary commitment. Although the laws for involuntary commitment differ from one state to another, SUD must meet the following criteria to be put under involuntary rehab:

  • They must be a threat to others and themselves
  • Their addiction makes them incapable of deciding for themselves
  • They’re incapacitated and can’t decide on their own
  • They’re unable to fulfill their basic needs or tend to the affairs
  • They’ve lost total control of their mental faculties

While court-ordered rehab has been proven to work, voluntary rehabilitation has shown much better results. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and want to sober up, contact us today for a way forward.