A person sitting on a couch in drug rehab therapy.

Is Rehab Mandatory After a Drug Conviction?


In Illinois, alcohol and drug abuse is one of the main reasons that people commit crimes. Statistics show that around 80% of crimes result from alcohol and drug abuse. Historically, the criminal justice system has harshly approached those convicted of drug-related crimes. Rather than treatment and prevention, the penalties for drug offenses are usually prison sentences, massive fines, probation periods, and a permanent criminal record.

In some situations, however, there is the possibility of attending rehab as part of your criminal sentence for a drug conviction. It is not required to attend rehab if convicted of a drug crime. However, it is the desirable option for many people who want to break free from drug addiction. Judges in Illinois do not order attendance in a treatment facility easily, and if you do attend, you will have to follow strict requirements.

We have been helping clients with drug-related criminal charges at Hirsch Law Group for over 15 years. We have seen how badly the criminal system treats individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, and we know how difficult it can be to break the cycle of crime when you struggle with substance abuse.

If you want to try and attend a substance abuse treatment program, our lawyers can help fight for this on your behalf and ensure that your best interests are protected at all stages of your case.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Cook County criminal defense lawyer at 815-880-1134.


Consequences of a Drug Conviction


If you are facing a drug charge in Illinois, you will probably be extremely worried about the severe consequences of a conviction. Being convicted of a drug crime, whether drug possession offenses, trafficking, or distribution of a controlled substance, can seriously impact your life and may impact your future opportunities. With a criminal conviction, you may have to serve jail time, pay huge fines, go on probation, and face difficulties with a criminal record, including employment and education opportunities.

Most individuals that face drug-related charges suffer from drug addiction or substance use disorder. As such, people often lack judgment when committing a crime and do so because of their relationship with drugs or their need to afford drugs. However, the criminal court system and police officers rarely sympathize with those suffering from substance abuse problems and harshly approach drug charges.

Whether you were caught carrying drugs or distributing illegal drugs, the penalties you may face are severe. You will likely face much harsher penalties if you have a criminal history or have committed prior offenses. The criminal legal system does not care about individuals who suffer from addiction, and their only priority is getting your case through the court as soon as possible and securing a conviction.

However, if you have the backing of an experienced criminal attorney, they may be able to get your case heard in a drug court, prevent you from spending time in jail, and maybe even avoid a criminal conviction. This way, you may be able to attend a rehab facility to help you overcome your addiction rather than spending time in jail for your crimes, as you are much more likely to continue on a difficult path without appropriate help.


What Is a Drug Court?


Because of the massive problem with drug addiction and the number of drug charges that are dealt with in state courts every day, some counties in Illinois are beginning to use drug courts as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. Drug courts operate within the normal court system but are explicitly built for drug-related crimes.

Drug courts aim to allow those facing drug charges to avoid criminal sentencing and go to a court-ordered treatment instead of a jail sentence. For your case to be admitted to a drug court, you must meet specific requirements, and you usually have to make an application for your case to be admitted. You may have to plead guilty to the charges to be accepted to a drug court, depending on your circumstances. However, criminal proceedings may be postponed while you complete your sentencing.

Drug courts also aim to keep down the number of prison inmates to prevent overcrowding and lower the costs associated with sending drug offenders to jail. An experienced Cook County criminal defense lawyer can help apply to have your case heard in a drug court, as the process can be complicated.


Court Ordered Rehab


Instead of being sentenced to jail time for drug-related crimes, a drug court may sentence a person to a drug rehab program or treatment facility. Drug rehab programs aim to help people break free from their addiction to drugs or alcohol and begin the treatment process, which can help them start a new way of life.

To be accepted to a rehab facility rather than going to prison, you must first petition the court for a screening process. During this screening process, the judge and healthcare professionals will assess your substance use disorder and determine whether you suffer from health issues due to substance abuse. They cannot control your actions because of the addiction. If the Judge determines that an addiction treatment facility is a more appropriate resolution for your case, they will sentence you to court-ordered rehab.

You will be required to abide strictly by the terms set out under the court-ordered rehab program, and failure to obey the rules can result in strict punishment under criminal law. Such penalties can include extended time in a rehab center, time in jail, sanctions, or removal from the treatment program.


When Will a Judge Order a Drug Rehabilitation Program?


Certain conditions must be met to qualify for court-ordered rehab. Judges are reluctant to give second chances to people convicted of a drug crime, even though those who suffer from drug addiction are likelier to commit crimes more than once. A Judge will usually only allow court-ordered rehab if the following requirements are met:

  • The crime was committed, either directly or indirectly, because of drug or alcohol abuse problems

  • The drug-related crime was non-violent

  • The accused has not committed a violent crime in the past 10 years

  • The judge believes that a drug rehab program would benefit the defendant

  • The person convicted of the crime qualifies for a probationary sentence

Suppose you have been sentenced to an addiction treatment program previously by a Judge for a previous drug-related offense. In that case, you will likely be ineligible to attend court-ordered rehab again. Although relapses are regular and happen often, the criminal justice system rarely takes a compassionate approach and prefers sending individuals to jail for repeat offenses.


Benefits of a Court Ordered Addiction Treatment Program


The traditional approach of sentencing drug offenders to time in jail or putting people straight back on the streets with no resources for help does not fix the problem of substance addiction. When you are sentenced to prison for a drug charge, such as drug possession charges or distribution charges, you do not have the opportunity to access support groups and receive treatment for coming off drugs.

As such, a considerable percentage of people who serve their prison time for a drug conviction immediately begin to use drugs or alcohol after being released. In comparison, when a person commits a drug-related crime and is sentenced to a rehab center or has completed rehab on their own accord, they are much less likely to retake drugs after they are released.

The benefits of a court-ordered rehab system allow criminal offenders who suffer from substance use disorders to use their criminal conviction to change their life rather than as a reason to continue using drugs. A person who attends a rehab facility can access peer support, behavioral therapy programs, addiction treatment, and relapse prevention facilities. This alternative sentencing allows you to learn new life skills and begin a new chapter of your life.


Can I Attend Rehab on Probation?


In addition to court-ordered rehab, you can attend rehab of your own accord when on probation. In some cases, this can be beneficial to your criminal case as it can demonstrate that you are taking steps to recover and stop the cycle of crime. However, it is essential to note that not all Judges are sympathetic towards individuals who attend drug rehab, and it is up to their discretion whether they can reduce your sentence.

If you decide to attend drug rehab while on probation, you must inform your probation officer about your decision to do so. In many situations, probation officers have a lot of cases to deal with and do not give individual care to each case. If you attend rehab without informing them, they could write you up for a parole violation, and you could end up back in prison, which is the last thing you want for your situation.

If you would like to attend parole while on probation, the most important thing you should do is speak with a criminal defense attorney. They can advise you on rehab centers, talk with your parole officer on your behalf, and ensure you get the help you need.


Can You Be Arrested While Attending Rehab?


While attending a rehabilitation facility, the primary goal is to focus on recovery and improve mental health. Generally, you are safe from arrest within the confines of the treatment center due to healthcare confidentiality laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA regulations aim to protect patient privacy, preventing health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent.

However, it’s important to note that these protections are not absolute. If the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or other law enforcement agencies have a warrant, they can arrest someone even in treatment facilities if there’s evidence of ongoing criminal activity.

Yet, the focus of these agencies is typically on larger-scale drug trafficking rather than individuals seeking treatment. The main goal is to support recovery and reduce the impact of substance use disorders, understanding that treatment, not punishment, is the most effective path forward.


Jail Time vs. Drug Rehab


Trying to start a new life after jail time can be tricky. If you have a criminal record, you will face difficulties getting employed, applying for education, applying for bank loans for a mortgage, obtaining housing, and much more. Your experiences in jail can also make it quite challenging to stay off drugs when you return to normal society, and most people who leave prison after serving time for a drug charge return to drugs almost immediately.

The system is not built in favor of those who have served jail time and have criminal records. However, it can sometimes be more favorable towards those who have attended rehab and have evidence to prove that they have moved on from their addiction. While it is not impossible to begin a new life after spending time in jail, it is not easy.

By attending rehab, whether court-ordered or not, you put yourself in an environment that allows you to recover rather than be punished. As such, when you leave rehab, you will likely have a new outlook on life and want to continue on your new path rather than return to drug use.


How a Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help


If you are charged with a drug crime in Illinois, it is most likely that your charge will be processed through a standard criminal court. To get your case heard by a drug court and potentially get accepted to a treatment center rather than jail, you must submit an application outlying why you think your case should be heard in this type of court.

Understanding the drug courts and their legal obligations can be pretty confusing. Making an application outlining why your case should be heard here can also be quite complex if you have no legal experience. The court system does not care whether your case is heard in a drug or standard court, as they want to get it through as soon as possible. Suppose you are arguing with the court about your need to go to rehab. In that case, they are less likely to listen, especially if you have a public defender who doesn’t have the time to provide special attention to your case.

By hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can ensure that your best interests are at the forefront of the case and that if you want to attend rehab rather than go to jail, they will fight to try and achieve this for you. They will apply on your behalf, explain how the system works, assess whether you meet the requirements to attend court-ordered rehab, and help explain what is required of you.

A lawyer can help ensure you do not fall into the criminal system and continue on a cycle of crime and drugs by helping you get the support you need.


Do I Have to Go to Rehab After a Drug Conviction?


If you are convicted of a drug-related offense, there is no requirement to attend rehab unless a court order requires you to do so. The criminal legal system is not geared toward those who suffer from drug addiction, and getting caught up in the system can significantly impact your life. Police officers, prosecutors, and Judges want to get cases through the court as quickly as possible, and they do not care about your future and your life.

One way to prevent a drug conviction from impacting the rest of your life is by attending a drug rehab facility, which can be through a court order or by your own decision, when possible. Many people get caught in the crime and drug cycle easily because of their addiction, and the best way to get out of this cycle is by attending a treatment facility that can help you get clean.

At Hirsch Law Group, we understand how difficult it is to battle the criminal system, and we have seen how unfair it is towards those who suffer from substance abuse problems. Our law firm has been helping clients all over Illinois battle drug charges for many years, and we know what it takes to get the best outcome for your case. Our lawyers can help fight for court-mandated rehab on your behalf and help you avoid jail time. If you have already been convicted of a crime or are awaiting charges, we can help you seek treatment.

We have worked as former prosecutors, and our lawyers know the tricks they use to get your case through the system as soon as possible. Ensure you do not become another statistic, and seek legal action immediately.

Call us at 815-880-1134 to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.