Court-Ordered Rehab For Addiction Treatment: The Complete Guide

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With addiction numbers increasing every year, countless courtrooms are full of drug or petty-crime charges. Many of those offenders need treatment over jail time. Court-ordered rehab is something that can be ordered for a defendant instead of jail time, meaning that the person goes in for treatment instead of spending time in jail. This can happen if a judge believes and a strong case is made that treatment will ultimately benefit the individual more than jail would.

How to Get Rehab Instead of Jail Time?

Rehabilitation isn’t the route for everyone, and often people are fearful of going to treatment. A verdict of court-mandated rehab means that the defendant met the requirements necessary for drug treatment after a minor crime. So what exactly are the criteria that would enable someone to get rehab instead of jail time?

  • Addiction to a substance or drug at the time of the crime.
  • The defendant committed the crime as a direct or indirect result of alcohol or drug dependency.
  • Defendant wants to get help or would benefit more from treatment than jail time, in the long-term.
  • The defendant has not committed a violent crime or any previous violent crimes.

While these are just some of the methods behind eligibility, each courtroom and judge will result in a different outcome. If the defendant presents a strong argument, a judge might just agree.

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How to Get Court-Ordered Rehab for an Addict

If a loved one has a substance abuse disorder and you are concerned that it is a threat to their health and that of those around them, you may be able to arrange to get a court order for them to attend a residential treatment center or IOP rehab. This depends on the state that the individual resides in, as not all states support this process. Florida is one example where such legislation exists; it is called the Marchman Act [1].

If the individual is not willing to attend rehab voluntarily and you want to get a court order for rehab, there is a legal process to follow for this. You can file a petition under the Marchman Act and request a screening investigation. 

A screening investigation consists of addiction specialists and police officers who evaluate to see if the individual qualifies for court-ordered rehab. If they observe that the addict is a safety threat to himself or to others because of his addiction, then they can issue a court-order where the judge will have the final verdict as to whether the individual is eligible for court ordered rehab.

How Long Is Court Ordered Rehab?

The length of court-ordered rehab will differ for different individuals depending on their circumstances and the state in which they live. However, court-ordered drug rehabilitation is not usually longer than 60 days. An individual can always choose to extend their rehabilitation treatment or opt for “aftercare” plans to improve chances for maintaining sobriety. 

Who Pays for Court-Ordered Rehab?

If someone receives a court order for rehab, they will have to pay for the treatment themselves. However, drug abuse itself costs a lot. It can cost friends, family members, and entire lives. Substance abuse costs a lot of money for both the addicted and your average taxpayer. So although rehab costs are steep, it is cheaper than an addiction in the long run.

Additionally, many treatment centers will take patient insurance to cover the costs of rehabilitation services. The cost of treatment can vary anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 and will differ depending on the type and length of treatment chosen. You can use our insurance checker to verify if your insurance will cover rehab at Avenues Recovery.

If a halfway house or sober living facility is suggested after treatment, patients have to pay the cost of rent and other housing bills. Again, many treatment centers accept insurance, and they will often work with you so you can get the treatment you need for a price you can afford.

Learn more about paying for drug rehab with Medicare and Medicaid.

What Happens if You Leave Court Ordered Rehab?

If you do not complete treatment, or violate court ordered rehab in any way, then you may receive consequences from the court. Below are various factors that will contribute to the severity of the penalty: 

  • The individual’s past criminal history
  • The amount of time the individual spent in treatment
  • The individual's behavior during treatment
  • The specific type of violation

Going to treatment instead of jail is for the defendant’s benefit, so it is worthwhile for people who enter rehab to make every effort to be successful. 

The Purpose of Court Ordered Rehab

Statistics seem to show that jail time is largely ineffective in curbing substance abuse when ordered for drug or alcohol-related crime. As stated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), an astounding 95% of inmates will consume alcohol or substances after their release. Approximately 60% to 80% of inmates that are released will go on to commit a drug-related crime.

When ordered into rehab by the court, treatment becomes mandatory. Countless times crimes are committed because the person is under the influence of a drug, and that behavior could be curbed through treatment. If an attorney can prove that the crime was committed when judgment was impaired, court ordered rehab could be an effective option.

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Does Court Ordered Rehab Work?

While some people query the effectiveness of court-mandated rehab, a study conducted by the NIDA portrayed that court ordered rehab has the same success rate as voluntary rehab. 

The outcome of this study showed that although the group of men who completed court ordered treatment for substance abuse showed lower motivation initially, 5 years later they reported the same rates of abstinence, employment, and quality of life. This proves that court-ordered drug rehabilitation is as effective as voluntary rehab and is often the best way forward for addicts. Additionally, court-ordered rehab provides individuals with a safe and structured environment that they would not necessarily have in a prison. Legally-mandated rehab is an opportunity for individuals to gain skills in recovery that jail does not offer. 

Choosing Court Mandated Rehab: What’s Involved?

When you agree to enter court-ordered treatment, you will have to sign court documents that state you will enter and complete the rehabilitation program determined by the court. You will commit to not using any substances for the duration of your treatment and will submit to drug testing periodically to prove your compliance with the order. Some court-mandated substance abuse treatment may have a community-service component that you will have to complete along with the treatment.

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How to Approach Court Ordered Substance Abuse Treatment

If you or your attorney requested rehabilitation time in lieu of incarceration, make sure you are aware of what this entails. Treatment will not be like jail, but you will have to work on your addiction and actively participate in your own growth to recovery. You will need to put in the effort to do the work, and doctors and staff will know if you are serious about and committed to getting help.

When court-ordered rehabilitation is instructed, what’s the next stage? The next steps to follow to successfully complete your court-ordered rehab are:

1– Find a Treatment Center

Start your search on the internet by looking for rehabilitation facilities or treatment centers in your area. If you’re willing to travel and get away from your regular environment, you can try doing a search for the best rehab facilities in the country. You’ll find many options of care centers that can cater to your specific needs. However, be sure to check with the courts first to make sure you are allowed to leave the state before deciding on and choosing a treatment center.

You will also want to check with your insurance company to see what they will cover for treatment. They may not cover the entire bill, but it’s important to know whether or not you will have to pay out of pocket, and how much. Insurance companies are becoming much more up-to-date with helping pay for rehabilitation, so depending on your coverage and healthcare provider, it’s likely that insurance would cover most of the treatment expenses.

2– Complete Detox

Each program and patient will have diverse detoxification programs. Depending on the number of substances used and substance type, medical detox might be necessary to ensure your safety and well-being as the drugs or alcohol vacate your system. With any drug detox treatment, there will be numerous experienced professionals around you who will help you through addiction withdrawal.

Many patients who complete detox often feel like an entirely new person once they are able to rid their bodies of the drugs or substances. You will need to complete some kind of detox in order to continue through a rehabilitation program. Detox is one of the main reasons why many addicts are fearful of treatment, but with medical support and guidance, detox can become an eye-opening experience.

3– Engage in the Program

One of the worst things you can do to yourself is sabotage the rehabilitation process by refusing to participate and engage. Based on the individual situation, court-ordered rehab may require you to participate in a residential treatment program, an outpatient drug program, an intensive outpatient program, or a partial hospitalization program.

This is your chance to make a new life for yourself, to find a new start. Don’t waste it. Involve yourself in one-on-one therapy or group therapy for substance abuse, and learn from the other patients. You may find that many of their stories are similar to your own and you can find friendship and support among the other patients. The journeys they are traveling alongside you will be similar to yours.

4– Fulfill the Court Ordered Rehab Period

The best thing you can do is to complete the rehab mandated by the court. If you leave early or decide not to participate, it could have serious negative implications in your court case. You will most likely be reprimanded and sentenced to serve the jail time you were originally intended to serve. Rehab is a chance to change the course of your life for the better, so completing it fully is in your best interest.

Summary: Court-Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment

Although one can face many fears in recovery, court-appointed rehab is a positive way to help one get their life back on track for the better.

Going to rehabilitation is not meant to be a jail sentence in itself. Rehab can offer you so much more than what you already have, and it can guide you to being a better and healthier person, with a better quality of life and chance for a future. Rehab will provide you with coping techniques, support, and even new opportunities that wouldn’t have existed previously. Sometimes the best things happen in light of bad circumstances, so choose rehabilitation as an opportunity to accept treatment and become a better, healthier you!

Read more about substance abuse rehab options on our website.


Court-Ordered Rehab at Avenues Recovery

For many, court-ordered rehab can be an extremely beneficial experience. If you or a loved one are interested in attending court-mandated rehab or would like to know more information, reach out to us today. At Avenues Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs and resources to help you leave the life of drug and alcohol addiction. Begin your journey to a successful recovery today!




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