If you or a loved one is convicted of a drug-related crime, he or she may face a number of different legal consequences. Drugs, alcohol, and crime are all closely related in America, and there are several different ways a person may become entangled in the legal system due to drug-related offenses.1 Examples may include:
- Buying, selling or distributing illicit drugs
- Forging a prescription
- Committing a violent or non-violent crime as a direct result of drug or alcohol intoxication
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
- Stealing prescription drugs from a pharmacy, hospital, or clinic
- Physically or sexually abusing someone
- Committing an act that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury or death to another person (reckless endangerment)2
Depending on the type of offense and the circumstances surrounding it, a person may not always be served with a prison sentence upon conviction. He or she may be eligible for court-ordered rehab instead.
Legal Consequences for Drug-Related Crimes
In the U.S., there are many legal consequences that the court may order as a result of a drug and/or alcohol-related crime. Most often, to determine the severity of the offense and an appropriate sentence, the court will look at the various factors involved in the case. If a person is convicted of a drug-related crime, such as one of those listed above, a judge may rule with one of the following sentences3:
- Small or large fine
- Short-term or long-term prison sentence
- Manslaughter or homicide
In addition to any immediate legal sentencing, a person who has been convicted of a drug-related crime may also face other legal and personal consequences such as bankruptcy, child custody issues, or difficulties securing employment later in life.
Court-Ordered Rehab: An Alternative Option
At the end of last fiscal year, nearly half of all jail inmates were drug offenders.4 Additionally, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 60 to 80 percent of drug-abusing inmates will go on to commit similar, drug-related crimes upon their release from prison.5.
As is reflected by these statistics, many people who are incarcerated for drug-related crimes would benefit much more from attending drug and alcohol rehab rather than sitting in a jail cell for months or years on end.
As a result, drug courts were developed in an effort to rehabilitate non-violent, first-time offenders and (ideally) prevent them from committing a similar crime in the future. Although mandatory minimum sentences are in place for many drug crimes, in some instances, a judge may have the ability to offer court-ordered drug rehab as an alternative to jail.3
Eligibility for Court-Ordered Rehab
Court-ordered drug and alcohol rehab requires that an individual agrees to get treatment for a drug and/or alcohol problem in exchange for a reduced sentence. On that same note, it’s important to mention that not all criminal offenders are eligible for court-ordered rehab.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a drug-related crime, he or she may be eligible for court-ordered rehab if one or more of the following factors applies to the situation:
- The offense is non-violent and is a direct result of the person’s intoxication. A non-violent crime is a crime that does not involve the use of force or injury to another person. Examples may include property theft, possession of drugs, fraud, and selling or manufacturing drugs. Generally, non-violent crimes are punished with fines or a short jail sentence, but the consequences vary based on the severity of the crime.6,7
- The offense is directly related to alcohol and drug abuse and/or directly involves the possession or distribution of drugs. If you or a loved one is charged with the possession or sale of illicit drugs, a judge may be able to offer the option of court-ordered rehab instead of jail.
- The offender has not previously been treated for substance abuse in the past. In some instances, a person may not have had the opportunity to attend treatment or get help for the drug or alcohol addiction that led to the criminal offense. If a judge determines that a person would be better off receiving addiction treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab center rather than being incarcerated, court-ordered rehab may be an option.
- The person is a first-time offender. If a mandatory minimum sentence is not required for the crime that was committed and the person is a first-time offender, the courts may be more lenient with the sentence.
Although the above factors may help determine your eligibility for court-ordered rehab, this is not an exhaustive list. Each individual circumstance is different and the legal consequences will vary based on the ruling of the judge.
Choosing a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program for Court-Ordered Rehab
If a judge determines that you are eligible for court-ordered rehab, the specific requirements of your sentence will vary based on the severity of your crime. You may be required to appear in drug court, attend individual or group counseling, enroll in an inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program, or commit to some other type of drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
In most cases, it is desirable and favorable in the eye of the courts to see an offender receiving some form of treatment for at least 12 months. At Nova Recovery Center, we offer an affordable and customizable 15-month continuum of care plan that carries clients all the way through a comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment plan and gives them the best chance at achieving lasting, independent sobriety.
The admissions staff at Nova is also prepared and able to work with legal counsel to ensure the client receives the proper treatment and all involved parties receive the necessary progress updates and information needed to meet court-ordered rehab requirements in a timely manner.
If you or a loved one is seeking a drug and alcohol rehab program to fulfill a court-ordered rehab sentence, call Nova Recovery Center today to speak with an admissions representative. We can help you get the process started and answer any questions you have about court-ordered rehab.