Millions of people suffer from addiction -both drugs and alcohol. Addiction does not only affect the individual who suffers from it, but their family as well, and the community. However, people with addiction fail to see this and will most usually refuse rehab. This leads them to get caught up in legal issues and be ordered by the court to submit themselves to a rehab facility. In this article, we will answer the question: can you go to rehab with a warrant?

Can you go to rehab with a warrant
Can you go to rehab with a warrant

Court-Ordered Rehab: A Guide

People suffering from addiction barely ever see the need to send themselves to rehab, as the disorder itself makes them believe there is nothing wrong and that they do not need help. As previously mentioned, people with addiction can get involved with legal issues, hence the criminal court system ordering them to attend a rehabilitation facility.
To answer the question, can you go to rehab with a warrant? The straightforward answer is Yes!

Court-Ordered Rehab: What is it?

Court-ordered rehab is commonly considered and used as a valid alternative form of sentencing. Historically, addiction had been regarded as a moral failure and considered a criminal case. With the breakthroughs in science and medicine, studies have shown and proven that addiction and substance use disorder are public health issues. Rehabilitation methods are used to treat people with addiction and substance abuse instead of incarceration.

Alcohol and drug addiction lead individuals to commit illegal acts while under the influence or acquire the substance. In the US, an estimate of 80% of all offenses leading to prison is caused by drug or alcohol abuse.

Prevalent crimes fueled by drugs and alcohol include domestic violence and property crimes, to name a few. Half of the inmates in jail and prison meet the criteria for addiction, with 60% testing positive for illegal drugs at the time of arrest and about 20% admitting to having committed their crime to acquire money for drugs.

Court-Ordered Rehab: How does it work?

How a court-ordered rehab is carried out will be discussed here:

  • Screening Investigation. To get a court-ordered rehab instead of facing jail time, a screening investigation needs to be done first and foremost. This screening investigation may be requested by family members and loved ones and is conducted by police officers and addiction specialists.
  • The offender takes into custody. The offender will then be taken into custody for the authorized professionals to evaluate the individual. The professionals will assess whether or not the individual cannot control themselves and their actions due to addiction and whether they are suffering from other health problems relevant to drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Issuance of an emergency court order. If and when the assessment by the addiction specialists and police render that the person may be a danger to themselves and others because of their addiction, and issuance of an emergency court order will take place. A hearing will be scheduled.
  • Scheduled hearing. On the hearing day, the offender, along with their lawyer and loved ones, may ask the judge for a court-ordered rehab instead of a sentence. It will always depend on the judge whether the individual will go to rehab or serve their sentence in jail. If the court orders rehabilitation, the offender will need to complete the rehabilitation program for their criminal charges to be dismissed.

Court-Ordered Rehab: Criteria

Court-ordered rehab is not automatically issued, and it has grounds for its issuance. The court judge will issue a court-ordered rehab if the following criteria are met:

  • The defendant had not attended a court-ordered rehab in the past
  • The crime committed was nonviolent
  • Offense either directly or indirectly resulted from drug or alcohol dependence
  • The court is convinced that the defendant will benefit from the rehabilitation program
  • The defendant is qualified for a probationary sentence
Types of Court-Ordered Rehab
Types of Court-Ordered Rehab

The Goals of Court-Ordered Rehab

Along with the rise and prevalence of illegal drugs and addiction, the population in prison increased as well. For this matter, where drug addiction is the core issue involved, jail and prison do not fix it. By issuing court-ordered rehab, individuals can get the help they need to combat the disease instead of getting sentenced to jail. The goal of court-ordered rehab is to catalyze offenders to get help and live a free life from substance abuse and crimes.

Any court can issue an offender to go to rehab, and there are existing special courts that specifically function to handle drug-related offenses. These special courts’ goal is to help the offender have a more improved outcome to influence the offenders positively by ordering them to submit themselves to a treatment facility or a mental health center.

Statistics show that 95% of the inmates continue to consume alcohol or use drugs soon after leaving jail, and around 60% – 80% of released inmates commit another crime related to drugs, hence the goal of court-ordered rehab.

Types of Court-Ordered Rehab

To effectively treat an individual with addiction or substance use disorder, the treatment plan must be tailored for them. The more fitting and specific the treatment is, the higher the individual’s chances to succeed and complete the program. The court executes the best of its abilities in offering different types of rehabilitation and treatment programs for the offenders.

Here are the types of court-ordered rehab:

1. Accelerated Pretrial Rehab Programs

Programs under this type have strict requirements. The individual must not have attended a similar program in the past, and the crime they committed must not be a felony. When the individual is ordered to attend the accelerated program, they will be released to the drug support services department. Once they complete the rehabilitation program successfully, all charges will be dropped.

2. Detox and Inpatient Rehab Programs

The drug court may sometimes order the individual to submit to a medically supervised detox center and inpatient rehabilitation facility in place of jail time. Most times, rendering community service hours are ordered as well or completing vocational training.

3. Educational Programs

These programs are the most common and most frequently ordered rehabilitation programs. Consequently, these are the most accessible rehabilitation programs and usually last between 10 to 15 weeks. Individuals eligible for this program are those who are charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. Upon completing the program, the judge will dismiss the charges, and court files will be sealed.

For individuals charged with possession of drugs and/or drug-related paraphernalia, conditions may restrict their eligibility to be ordered an educational program. For them to meet the requirements for eligibility, it must be their first time attending. These programs usually last 15 weeks, and charges will be dropped once completed.

4. Group Counselling Programs

These programs are the second most common rehabilitation the court orders. Group Counselling Programs are frequently based on the 12-step model.

5. Residential Counseling

This program is considered the most intense program. Residential counseling programs are executed within the larger prison system in many instances. Offenders are excluded from the general prison population and will be given treatment and counseling for drug or alcohol abuse.


The world embraces the idea that drug and substance abuse are health problems and not merely an illegal act. It is a breakthrough for our society as a whole. So, can you go to rehab with a warrant? The answer is yes, and this article has laid down the whats and hows of court-ordered rehab. For individuals suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, court-ordered rehabilitation programs are always the better option, as this can be the agent for them to live a life free from drugs and crimes.

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