In Illinois, alcohol and drug abuse is one of the main reasons that people commit crimes. Statistics show that around 80% of crimes committed result from alcohol and drug abuse. The criminal justice system has historically taken a harsh approach to 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 to attend rehab as part of your criminal sentence for a drug conviction. It is not a requirement that you 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, however, and if you do attend, you will have to follow strict requirements.
At Hirsch Law Group, we have been helping clients with drug-related criminal charges for over 15 years. We have seen how badly the criminal system treats individuals who suffer from drug 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 drug 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 serious consequences of a conviction. Being convicted of a drug crime, whether it is drug possession offenses, trafficking, or distribution of a controlled substance, can have a serious impact on 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 court system and police officers very rarely have sympathy towards those who suffer from substance abuse problems and take a harsh approach towards drug charges.
Whether you were caught carrying drugs or distributing illegal drugs, the penalties you may be faced with are severe. If you have a criminal history or have committed prior offenses, you are likely to face much harsher penalties. 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 huge 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 however they are built specifically to deal with drug-related crimes.
The aim of drug courts is to allow those facing drug charges to avoid criminal sentencing and go to a court-ordered rehab program instead of a jail sentence. For your case to be admitted to a drug court, you must meet certain requirements and you usually have to make an application for your case to be admitted. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to plead guilty to the charges in order to be accepted to a drug court. However, criminal proceedings may be postponed while you complete your sentencing.
Drug courts also have the aim of keeping down the number of prison inmates to prevent overcrowding and lowering the costs associated with sending drug offenders to jail. An experienced Cook County criminal defense lawyer can help submit an application to have your case heard in a drug court as the process can be quite complicated.
Court Ordered Rehab
Instead of being sentenced to jail time for drug-related crimes, a drug court may sentence a person to time in a drug rehab program or treatment facility. The aim of drug rehab programs is 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 are suffering from health issues due to substance abuse and whether you are unable to 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 punishments 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?
There are certain conditions that must be met in order to qualify for court-ordered rehab. Judges are reluctant to give second chances to people who have been convicted of a drug crime, even though those who suffer from drug addiction are more likely 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
If you have been sentenced to attend an addiction treatment program previously by a Judge for a previous drug-related offense, you will likely be ineligible to attend court-ordered rehab again. Although relapses are completely normal and happen often, the criminal justice system rarely takes a compassionate approach and prefers to send 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 jail 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 huge 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 they are sentenced to a rehab center, or they have successfully completed rehab on their own accord, they are much less likely to take drugs again 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 as a way to change their life, rather than as a reason to continue using drugs. A person who attends a rehab facility has access to peer support, behavioral therapy programs, addiction treatment, and relapse prevention facilities. This form of 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, there is the possibility to attend rehab of your own accord when you are 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 important 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, it is important that you 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, speak with your parole officer on your behalf, and ensure that you get the help that you need.
Jail Time vs. Drug Rehab
Trying to start a new life after spending time in jail can be quite difficult. If you have a criminal record, you will face difficulties getting employed, applying for education, applying for bank loans for a mortgage, getting housing, and much more. The experiences that you have in jail can also make it quite difficult 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 straight away.
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 definitely 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. In order to get your case heard by a drug court, and potentially get accepted to a treatment center rather than jail, you will need to submit an application outlying why you think your case should be heard in this type of court.
Trying to understand the drug courts and their legal obligations can be quite 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 simply want to get your case through as soon as possible. If you are arguing alone to the court about your need to go to rehab, they are less likely to listen, especially if you have a public defender who doesn’t have the time necessary 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 submit the application on your behalf, explain to you 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 that you do not fall into the criminal system and continue on a cycle of crime and drugs by helping you get the support that 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 there is a court order requiring you to do so. The criminal legal system is not geared in favor of those who suffer from drug addiction and getting caught up in the system can have a major impact on your life. Police officers, prosecutors, and Judges all 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. Make sure that 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.