While it is recommended you seek help for substance use disorder or mental health disorder before it becomes a legal matter, sometimes it does not happen that way, and the State intervenes. Court-ordered rehab is an alternative to jail time for crimes committed while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other substances. Typically, it is offered to individuals when they need treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. Structured treatment programs focus on relapse prevention skills and have accountability measures to monitor and track the progress of those going through the treatment to ensure they are not a danger to themselves or others. 

There is a wide array of treatment options, so finding the right care comes down to the individual and their needs. Treatment should best fit the patient’s needs. When alcohol and substance use disorders are taken into the hands of the court system, not only will it make for a more costly endeavor than rehab on your own volition, there is also no guarantee that you will be provided treatment.

Involuntary Drug Rehab

Involuntary sentencing is used to satisfy a court order when the patient does not voluntarily seek help. The judge’s ruling happens when the defendant loses his or her case and receives a criminal conviction. Rehab is a result of the crime committed. This kind of sentencing is sometimes required for offenders with more serious convictions. The person sanctioned to undergo the program will be expected to attend meetings and other counseling when scheduled. 

Additional drug testing and regular check-ins from parole officers or counselors will be performed throughout the sentence. Any violations will be marked on their record and can be used against them in court. For violators of involuntary rehab, the consequences vary depending on progress and the severity of the offense, such as consistently missing meetings or using drugs and other substances. The penalties could include fines for negligence and even incarceration. 

Alternative Sentencing

There are multiple conviction outcomes when a crime has been committed, including rehab programs, restitution, and counseling. This kind of sentencing offers alternative treatment as opposed to doing jail time. This is usually a ruling provided to first time offenders with minor convictions to keep the person out of prison or jail. The focus will be treating their disorder, including long-term rehabilitation, inpatient drug rehab, inpatient psychiatric treatment, and community service. 

For non-compliance, the State of California will treat it as such: discharge from your treatment or counseling, termination of your county work program, another hearing to determine a sentence, a revocation hearing, which could lead to jail time. Any of these scenarios can happen when the violator does not show improvement, is uncooperative, fails to submit a test, or is violent or threatening at any point. 

Adult Drug Courts

Adult Drug Courts exist to help criminal offenders with relapse, addiction, and abuse problems. This alternative court system ensures treatment through monitoring, supervising, and offering incentives and motivation so an individual can flourish in rehab. This kind of sentencing focuses on treating substance use disorder and mental health disorders as an alternative to jail time. It is meant for offenders with crimes stemming from the possession and distribution of drugs. 

This is one of the most refunded services in providing the correct treatment for the offender. It avoids jail time and reduces the number of people incarcerated with drug offenses, reducing overcrowding and the amount of taxes needed to be paid from those in prison. Given that this continues to develop and produce reasonable success rates, this could be the future of treatment for criminals struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Violations will be dealt with based on the offense, and the loss of options for other rehab-focused sentencing can result in jail time. 

Violating Court Orders

A parole officer or counselor will track and report all progress to the court. For treatment to continue without punishment, an offender will need to devote the time, focus, and motivation required to achieve sobriety and complete the sentencing with new-found tools to support lasting recovery. Failing at any point in the program can result in consequences. Reasons for failing may include low attendance, skipping treatment such as therapy or counseling, and not showing motivation to get better. 

Penalties will also vary depending on the offense. This can include fines, community service, and imprisonment. Repeated violations will harbor more-severe punishment. The individual’s background will also be considered, such as how many offenses they have committed, how many times they have been arrested, and how they have taken to treatment. Every action matters when it comes to the kind of care someone receives. 


Rehab facilities are a safe place to get well as opposed to jail or prison. Rehabilitation sentences exist to help you improve your quality of life, including getting mental and physical help. Treatment does not end with finishing the program. Treatment benefits all aspects of life, such as finding a job, creating support groups, and utilizing self-care practices. Finishing up treatment and taking your health seriously can open up many doors to opportunity. Guided by the care offered at True Recovery, you will make deep connections and have a support system that will last a lifetime. With 24/7 care, you will never feel alone in your pursuit of sobriety. While True Recovery supports seeking care before it has to become a legal matter, we offer legal assistance through our court services division to provide you with the best approach if you have been arrested for a drug-related offense. To get help today, call True Recovery at (866) 399-6528