If you are convicted of DUI and show signs of a serious alcohol or drug addiction, you may be ordered into rehab.
Since the year 2000, California courts have had a shift in the way they view DUI penalties. It’s become understood that many DUI cases involve individuals suffering from severe addictions. Accordingly, it’s now common for judges to offer alcohol treatment or drug addiction treatment instead of jail time for DUI. Often these treatment programs consist of simple weekly meetings that you attend. But if the judge believes you have a particularly strong addiction, you may be ordered into rehab.
Rehab stands for rehabilitation. It’s also called detox. It’s a program that takes place in a medical facility under the supervision of trained staff. The purpose of rehab is to bring you through the difficult process of quitting drugs and alcohol, and help your body heal as it goes through withdrawal. Generally, you will check into the facility and not leave until the process is complete.
How does rehab work?
The rehab process includes:
- Medical support to make sure you go through withdrawal safely
- Supplements and vitamins to help your body detoxify
- A diet that helps the body become stronger and healthier again
- Mental health support to deal with the anger, depression or emotions tied to withdrawal
The best rehabilitation clinics will also give you tools for long-term support so that you’re less likely to relapse “on the outside.” You will need to attend weekly meetings or may even move into a sober living environment after leaving rehab.
Who is sent to rehab for DUI?
Rehab is extreme, but it’s also effective. It’s most often used for offenders whose DUI involved drugs. In DUIs involving alcohol, only the most extreme addicts are sent to rehab. Often these are individuals who have already tried other, less intensive treatment options without success.
Generally, if it’s your first time DUI the judge will not recommend rehab. They may suggest weekly meetings or a addiction counseling first. On a second DUI, required treatment programs are more common. Rehab is most common for repeat DUI offenders.
Can going to rehab help my DUI case?
Yes. Judges look for DUI defendants who show remorse, admit they have a problem, and are willing to get help. In general, they won’t even offer rehab as an option unless they see a willingness to work on your addiction. If your DUI case is so serious that it’s unlikely you can win outright, volunteering to go to a treatment program is a good way to get a less severe sentence. If you are serious about turning your life around, you can avoid jail and potentially get the judge’s goodwill on your side. You can find our detailed rehab guide here and our resources for choosing a program here.
Whether rehab is right for you is a personal choice. Whether it’s good for your case is a decision that requires good legal counsel. You should speak to a DUI lawyer about rehab and other treatment options.
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