Getting Support at Changes to Improve Legal Proceedings
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Have you found yourself at the unfortunate intersection of court proceedings and substance abuse or drug addiction? If yes, you might ask yourself a critical question: Will rehab help my court case? Addiction to drugs or alcohol can wreak havoc on your life, even embroiling you in legal proceedings. That challenge can be daunting, but you are not the first, and you will sadly not be the last, to face the court system and plead with a judge or jury for mercy.
The team at Changes Healing Center in Phoenix, Arizona, frequently interacts with the courts on behalf of our clients. We know firsthand the profound harm that happens when drug or alcohol addiction spins so far out of control that someone ends up in court.
We will lay out some possible scenarios that include DUI or DWI cases, a drug rehabilitation program instead of minor charges, and family courts and child custody hearings.
Seeking addiction treatment can aid you with healing your drug or alcohol problem. It may even sway legal decisions in your favor. Read on to see how a robust rehabilitation program may alter the course of your impending court case to your advantage!
The Role of Addiction Treatment in the Courtroom
Today’s courts often acknowledge that substance abuse alongside mental health issues may trap someone in the judicial process. Understanding this interplay can be pivotal for people facing pending legal challenges.
Of course, that does not mean that drug rehabilitation is a literal “get out of jail” card. Judges still have a job to do – of delivering the justice as they see fit. Whether they agree to allow someone to go to a rehabilitation program instead of a harsher punishment (taking away their children or sending them to jail) often depends on the severity of the addiction.
Court Ordered Treatment Is Becoming More Accepted
Despite some initial pushback, court systems are becoming more open to getting to the root cause of the legal issue, addiction. In the long term, dealing with the addiction instead of punishing someone more severely may lead to better outcomes for both the individual and society.
Today, minor offenders and first-time offenders are more likely to receive court approval for alcohol rehab or drug rehab than ever before.
Driving Violations and Addiction Treatment
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Impaired) offenses are one of the most common legal issues where addiction and the law collide. The path to redemption and a more lenient legal outcome will often pass through the doors of professional rehabilitation centers.
The Link Between DUI Offenses and Substance Abuse
DUI cases are frequently the direct result of alcohol or drug abuse. As a result, the legal system increasingly considers addiction treatment as a key part of resolving the case. By doing the hard work of recovery, the person involved demonstrates to the judge that they have committed to lasting change and will not ever show their face in court again. That can often work in favor of the defendant, especially first-time offenders.
Sonia’s Story: Traffic Court and Triumph Over Alcohol
Meet Sonia, a 22-year-old college student. Per her usual Saturday night routine, she went out with friends to enjoy a few beers and hit the dance floor. She was a regular weekend binge drinker, but she never drove home.
On the night of her interaction with the legal system, Sonia’s friend, the group’s designated driver, met a super cute guy and left the group behind. Sonia thought she was okay to drive back to campus; it was just a few blocks away. But on the way back, she misjudged a curve, veered off the road, and hit a utility pole. Nobody was hurt, and the car was barely dented when they looked. She and her friends laughed it off until the blue lights of a police car lit up the night sky.
Sonia failed the field sobriety test. A female officer also responded and offered to give the girls a safe ride home. But while her friends were hopping into the second police cruiser, the responding officer handcuffed her and took her to jail. Sonia bawled like a baby, scared and ashamed; she had never been in trouble. Not even once!
The Criminal Justice System and the Privilege of a Second Chance
Fortunately, her otherwise squeaky-clean record afforded her a second chance. The judge understood that DUI charges could destroy her life before she even left college. The result of her court date was court-ordered treatment followed by community service. She took off the rest of the semester to own up to her responsibilities and satisfy the judge’s ruling.
Her mother insisted that she move back home and go to outpatient treatment at Changes Healing Center during the day. Every night, she left her court-ordered rehab center to help her mom with her younger siblings and rebuild the lost trust.
Today, Sonia is back to school and finishing her degree. She’s currently finishing up her community service work – she’s a volunteer with the local Students Against Drunk Driving chapter. Thanks to her voluntary rehab participation, she will likely graduate college without a criminal record.
Court Ordered Rehabilitation Services
Drug courts are an intriguing blending of the criminal justice system and addiction treatment. It offers an alternative to traditional sentencing for drug-related offenses.
Changes Healing Center plays a vital role in these legal resolutions for many clients, offering programs that comply with the strict rules of the drug court system.
The Purpose of Court-Ordered Rehab
Drug courts are specialized court programs that focus on rehabilitating people with drug offenses instead of sending them to jail or prison without treatment. These programs reduce recidivism by addressing the cause of the criminal behavior – drug or alcohol addiction.
Jamal’s Story: Addiction Recovery Instead of Criminal Charges
Jamal is a bright 25-year-old with a big personality and a heart of gold. He worked hard at a local factory. All his co-workers joked that Jamal would give a stranger the shirt off his back if they needed it more than he did.
But Jamal had been struggling with drugs since his late teens. It started as a way to cope with some family issues – it had been his way to check out the family drama and chill.
But it was under control; he only smoked a little weed and used it on the weekends and at night, mostly after work. It never even interfered with his job and he didn’t think to get a medical card. That changed one day at the end of his shift after he had shared a joint with a few co-workers. Breaking the speed limit that day, an officer pulled him over to cite him. While the officer was asking for his license, he noticed the giveaway skunk smell of marijuana. Jamal had a small baggie in his center console. He knew he was busted and came clean with the cop.
Getting Help to Overcome His First-Time DUI Offense
That honesty, a clean record, and his well-documented past community service all worked in his favor. He was a good person who had made some bad choices. Jamal was shocked to find himself trapped in the criminal courts. However, the judge suspended his license and ordered him to get help from an alcohol and drug rehab facility that would meet the standards of drug court supervision. Luckily, Changes Healing Center was near Jamal. He did not realize the extent of his addiction until going to rehab. He was lucky he didn’t serve the typical mandatory jail time in Arizona!
The counselors at Changes Healing Center helped Jamal break away from drug abuse and helped him understand why he hadn’t stopped smoking weed – even after he had his apartment. Jamal completed the drug court’s requirements. He even found a higher-paying job, passing the company’s drug testing with flying colors. He’s also ready for the court date for reinstating his driver’s license. Jamal no longer goes home to smoke after work. Instead, he’s coaching a rec league basketball team most evenings, hoping to help teens avoid the streets.
Family Court: Substance Abuse and Custody Hearings
Family court cases, particularly custody hearings, often bring out the worst in people. It will especially bring into the spotlight substance abuse and addiction. One parent will wield addiction like a weapon, using it as a weapon separating parent from child.
That’s not to make light of the harmful nature of drug or alcohol addiction – both can do long-term harm to children. Ultimately, the ongoing health and welfare of the children is at the core concern of custody cases.
What’s Considered at a Custody Hearing?
Courts consider many factors, including job stability, mental health problems, and substance use of the parents. Active participation in a treatment program at Changes Healing Center can demonstrate a parent’s commitment to sobriety and stability to the court.
Entering rehab instead of denying a problem could become a decisive factor in custody decisions.
Billy’s Story: Child Custody Courts and Healing Alcohol Abuse
Billy and his sweetheart Bailey had been together for ten years since middle school. When they were 19 and considering an engagement, Bailey was surprised – she was pregnant. At the insistence of his very traditional parents, they married before the baby arrived. Bailey delivered a healthy boy named Jason right after she turned 20.
Married life was great for the young couple, at least at first. After Jason’s arrival, the money they each earned became difficult to stretch. Bailey became easily irritated and jealous that she had to work while her friends went away to college and took fantastic ski trips over winter breaks. She loved her little family but sometimes longed for what might have been.
Billy, too, grew disillusioned pretty quickly. He worked far more hours than Bailey, not because she wouldn’t work but because more hours were available. He was barely 21 with his whole life ahead of him. Here he was with a wife who only worked part-time and a baby to feed. Billy began to resent Bailey. His head told him that it wasn’t her fault that her cashier job was part-time. But his heart wanted her to earn more money. He also realized he was jealous of her time with baby Jason, the only bright spot in Billy’s life.
A Return to Stable Fatherhood in Recovery from Alcohol
Billy started drinking heavily. Every spare minute, he drank. He spent every spare dime on beer or liquor. With every sip, the resentment for Bailey grew. When he wasn’t drinking, he adored his daughter and even his wife, most of the time. But when he drank, he picked arguments, made wild accusations, and even threatened to leave Bailey high and dry with Jason.
The night arrived when Bailey called Billy’s bluff. She had been stashing away liquor receipts, proving that Billy was a heavy drinker. She’d also saved some incredibly disturbing text messages and voicemails that demonstrated a pattern of threats and implied abuse. Billy had never harmed Bailey, but she took him to court to make him prove it.
Billy’s dad had an attorney friend who urged the young man to pre-emptively attend inpatient rehab at Changes Healing Center for his now full-on alcohol addiction. Bailey was suing for full custody of Jason, claiming that drinking made Billy an inattentive father who put his son at risk.
But Billy arrived at his court date with a boost of confidence – he had proof that he’d received appropriate treatment services. He promised the judge that he’d never drink again, especially around his son. The judge agreed to let Billy have overnight visitation with little Jason every weekend. Today, Bailey and Billy are happily co-parenting – they’ll never be a couple again, but they’ve learned to work together for their child’s sake.
Challenges and Misconceptions in Rehab and Legal Proceedings
While the benefits of rehab within the legal system are significant, some challenges and misconceptions still muddy the waters. At Changes Healing Center, we do more than provide top-notch substance abuse treatment for Arizona and the Southwest.
We also love educating the public on these issues, especially since drug court programs are constantly increasing.
Rehab is Not Always a Sure Thing
One common fallacy is that drug or alcohol rehab guarantees reduced legal punishments. While rehab may positively affect legal outcomes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The more potentially severe the legal penalty, the less likely the courts will be to provide the rehab option.
We educate our clients about the realistic impact of rehab on their specific legal battles and work to dispel any myths surrounding the process. In our success stories, the clients shared a common denominator – each was a first-timer in the courts and had relatively minor legal issues. They also had the sincere desire to turn their lives around.
With this being said, an earnest desire to change that can be clearly communicated to a Judge can help even those who have had numerous run-ins with the law. We’ve seen clients facing decades of possible prison time demonstrate their inpatient involvement and dedication to long-term treatment, and be given suspended sentences in return.
In reaching for recovery, what might have previously seemed impossible becomes achievable, time and again, and lessened jail or prison time is only one example of the benefits to be gained.
It’s Challenging to Demonstrate Rehab Effectiveness to a Judge
Another roadblock comes when it’s time to confirm the progress and sincerity of someone’s rehabilitation to the court. Remember that judges have heard many stories during their careers. Many have promised never to reappear in the judge’s courtroom, only to return within weeks. It can be somewhat a case of the proverbial single apple who spoiled the whole bushel.
Despite good documentation from professional rehab facilities, some judges are more open than others to letting someone enter rehab instead of serving jail time. At Changes, when you are dedicated to your treatment we will help provide complete documentation that can sway the Judge in your favor.
Inpatient Treatment vs Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
If you face court-ordered rehab, you might have few choices about the treatment center options. Judges often use discretionary sentencing in jurisdictions that allow rehab treatment instead of jail time. That often gives them wide latitude when someone is interested in attending rehab.
Judges usually realize that inpatient rehabilitation costs may hold some back from healing their substance abuse issues. While inpatient treatment offers the most structured environment, it’s not a one-size-fits-all.
One insurance company may offer coverage for an inpatient rehab center. Another only covers outpatient rehabilitation services. For most judges, the main thing is getting someone to go to rehab and avoid jail time for good.
Will Rehab Help My Court Case? Reach Out to Changes Now!
We’ve come full circle, back to the initial question. Will rehab help my court case?
As our criminal justice system continues to integrate addiction treatment to avoid incarceration or severe criminal charges, good rehab centers will become increasingly important.
But the desire for recovery from addiction must still be sincere. Sobriety is hard work and demands intent and hard work. It’s not an easy path. But it is one worth pursuing if you truly desire to turn your life around.
If you need help to try to improve your odds of a favorable outcome in a court case, connect with Changes Healing Center today. We are here, ready to start the healing because you are worth it.