Sometimes, when you cannot get help yourself, the law will intervene. There has been a big push in the recovery community to raise awareness surrounding mental health disorders and substance use disorder in the modern era to erase years of stigma, taboo, and misinformation. Raising this awareness helps the court system better understand mental health and addiction and find treatment for those struggling with these disorders. 

Appropriate sentencing is vital to the cause; otherwise, there is a risk of perpetuating and creating new stigmas. The attempt is not to treat every criminal act the same and evaluate whether it was motivated by addiction or mental health. As a result, more rulings can be calling for rehab. If appropriately examined, this court-ordered treatment can develop into a useful system for those who suffer from addiction and mental disorders. However, there is still a long way to go.

Court-Ordered Rehab

Court-ordered rehab is used as an alternative sentence to rehabilitate someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. This form of treatment is seen as a more effective way to prevent someone from committing another crime. A stay in rehab often replaces some or all of the jail time needed to be served. The intent is to treat you, not punish you for your addiction. However, not all will qualify. The judge will look at certain variables about you and your case before ruling. The court will consider whether you were addicted to a substance at the time of the crime, if you are a first-time offender, whether the crime was non-violent or non-sexual, if you were under the influence, and if you plead guilty. 

If you are deemed a non-threat to society, you might be required to complete a treatment program. This treatment is similar to other drug and addiction treatments, although there may be additional requirements such as frequent drug testing and check-ins with a parole officer or counselor. These factors might also vary based on jurisdiction and any other circumstances that may surround your case. It will also depend on the severity of your addiction.

Legally Mandated Rehab

When you commit a crime related to your addiction or were under the influence, the judge can consider this as the crime resulting from substance use, meaning you would not have committed the crime if sober. If you have no criminal record, this might also influence the ruling. The offense is then classified as a crime from poor decision-making. The judge recognizing your addiction and your crime as a slip or mistake exercises the sensitivity needed to handle addiction cases. 

After you complete your sentence of rehab, you are not free and clear. The pursuit of sobriety, whether legally-mandated or voluntary, is a life-long pursuit. When you return to your former surroundings, the people and situations in your life may trigger your addiction again. It is essential to take your treatment seriously and not just serve it as a prison sentence. Understanding the value of the treatment is the goal of mandated rehab. When you have the opportunity to address your addiction, you will then gain the tools needed to manage it, unlike a prison sentence where you leave after serving a sentence with no means to handle your addiction. 

Advocates and Attorneys

Having a good attorney will significantly benefit you. Choosing someone specializing in addiction cases and advocating for substance abuse cases will help you have a voice before ruling. True Recovery is a treatment center with an established Court Services staff that will help you navigate the process, and having someone who understands you will provide the voice you need in an otherwise intimidating and possibly misinformed courtroom. Seeking such an attorney or advocate will not only present your case to the judge but even work with the prosecutor to negotiate an agreement that involves treatment. This can include sentences that last anywhere from 30 days to a year. 

Consulting such an attorney or advocate might help you to feel more confident about the court process. First, you will explore your options. Pending approval, you will have the choice of what treatment facility you desire. However, your attorney will help you consider one that fits your price range. Some facilities offer a sliding fee scale to help reduce costs or set up payment plans. You will also look at insurance. If you have health insurance, some of the costs may be covered. Try to work with your attorney or advocate to seek any financial assistance programs. You may be able to reduce costs, make payments, or even acquire a loan to help with your expenses. 


While there might be some progress happening in the courtrooms, there is a long way to go. Raising awareness, fighting for understanding, and reducing costs are just at the tip of the iceberg regarding the legal system and addiction recovery. While treatment is always better than jail or prison time, you will want to be sure that you are getting the right treatment to suit your needs. At True Recovery, we believe that you should always embark on your journey to sobriety with a treatment center that understands each individual’s needs. With 24/7 admissions and various treatments ranging from conventional to alternative, we ensure you are getting the appropriate care. Don’t allow the State to determine your fate with a court-appointed lawyer and treatment program. Take fate into your hands and seek help today. To learn more about treatment and the legal system, call True Recovery today at (866) 399-6528.