How Does Court-Ordered Treatment Work?

Last Updated: April 10, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Addiction often leads to some unpleasant consequences. If you have been misusing drugs or alcohol, you run a higher risk of health issues, relationship problems, and getting into trouble with the law. If you get a DUI or are arrested for some other violation, you may be lucky enough to get court-ordered treatment. While this might not sound like a treat, studies show that this type of treatment is effective.

What Is Court-Ordered Treatment?

If addiction has caused you to do some things that you would not normally do, such as commit a crime, there may be some sort of penalty in your future. In some cases, judges will sentence an offender to mandatory addiction treatment instead of requiring that they serve jail time. This isn’t a “free pass,” however. There are strict requirements for these programs as well as penalties for failing to follow through.

How Does Court-Ordered Treatment Work?

The goal of court-ordered treatment is to give a person with a substance use disorder access to rehabilitation so they can avoid jail time as well as avoid committing further offenses in the future. Mandatory treatment takes the place of a jail sentence, but there might still be other penalties such as fines and community service. Also, failing to complete court-ordered treatment will mean that you have neglected to follow a court order, so you will likely face additional penalties.

A county drug court will have a system in place comprised of judges, lawyers and case managers that coordinate its programs. The types of court-ordered addiction treatment programs will vary depending on your location and the wishes of the judge. Some of them could include:

  • Educational Programs: These are the most common and easily accessible types of addiction treatment.
  • Group Counseling: This involves group therapy and support systems that may be based on the 12-step model.
  • Residential Treatment: This is an intense program that requires a person to live at the treatment facility.
  • Outpatient Treatment: An offender may not meet the criteria for residential treatment so may be permitted to seek outpatient care.
  • Community-Based Programs: These programs offer services during times of transition.

Is Court-Ordered Addiction Treatment Effective?

There is a common misconception that someone who is compelled to attend a treatment program will not have as much success as a person that walks through the door willingly. This is not necessarily the case.

One study reveals that participants in a court-ordered outpatient treatment program were more likely to complete the program than those who were not mandated into treatment. The truth is that the legal system can apply enough pressure on someone to improve attendance at rehab and give them the willingness to change.

Finding the Right Type of Addiction Treatment for Your Needs

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder and now have legal charges hanging over your head, it is probably time to make a change. Fortunately, you have options. Even if court-ordered treatment is not your reality yet, taking steps to enter recovery could be the best thing you can do for your future.

At The Orlando Recovery Center, we offer a variety of addiction treatment plans and would be happy to help you understand your options. Contact us now to speak with one of our treatment specialists confidentially.