Court-Ordered Rehab: 8 Facts You Need to Know

Hossein Berenji, Jul 06, 2022

Drug addiction is a severe problem throughout the United States. Families struggle with how to help their loved ones overcome drug abuse and addiction. Drug testing is often an issue in child custody cases.

Many states have laws that permit the court to order someone to undergo evaluation for drug addiction without their consent. Court-ordered rehab may be justified if the person is a danger to themselves or others. However, the initial assessment and evaluation should indicate that treatment is necessary.

It is never easy to have a family member or friend committed to drug treatment against their will. However, it is necessary in some cases to save their lives. Because substance abuse is a serious problem, California passed laws permitting court-ordered rehab.

Below are answers to some common questions about California court-ordered rehab. We encourage you to reach out to our office if you have concerns or additional questions. We can discuss the process and your loved one’s legal rights regarding involuntary commitment for drug treatment.

What Is Court-Ordered Rehab?

In criminal cases, court-ordered rehab is an alternative to incarceration. For example, the judge might order the person to serve their time in an alcohol and/or drug treatment facility instead of a county jail or state prison.

Judges in civil court may order a person to involuntary drug rehab in California under specific circumstances upon petition by a family member or other interested party.

Is Substance Use Grounds for Court-Ordered Rehab in California?

California Welfare & Institutions Code §5343 states that if a person is a danger to himself or others because of the use of a controlled substance that they can be subject to being involuntarily committed. However, the evaluation and treatment can only be related to and concerned with the individual’s abuse of controlled substances.

Who Can Initiate an Involuntary Commitment for Drug Rehab?

A government official, law enforcement officer, or designated staff at a treatment facility may request court-ordered rehab for substance abuse. Family members, friends, and other interested persons may also petition the court for an order for involuntary commitment for evaluation and possible treatment.

Who Pays the Fees for the Rehabilitation Facility?

The person involuntarily committed to the rehabilitation center or a family member may be responsible for the fees. In some cases, health insurance could cover the cost of an alcohol or drug treatment facility. In addition, some individuals could be eligible for government benefits and aid that could cover the cost of court-ordered rehab.

How Long Can a Person Be Held for Court-Ordered Rehab?

The initial assessment and evaluation period is no longer than 72 hours. If the staff determines the person does not require treatment, they could be released before the 72 hours expires.

However, if the staff determines the person requires treatment, the person could be involuntarily committed to a drug rehab facility for longer. A clinical assessment and the court order may hold someone longer than the 72-hour assessment and evaluation period.

Rehab Can Be Positive and Effective

Many people benefit from court-ordered rehab. They may not be able to admit they have an addiction or that they need help. They may not be willing to enter a rehabilitation or treatment facility voluntarily.

However, once they are in the facility, the treatment program can be effective and beneficial. Successfully completing the program could significantly improve and change their life.

You Might Be Able to Choose the Facility

Court-ordered rehab does not always mean that you have no control over where you receive treatment. You or your family member could have a say in the facility that provides the treatment. You would need to ensure that the facility meets the requirements of the court order.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Request Court-Ordered Rehab for a Family Member?

As with all other court proceedings, hiring an experienced lawyer to represent you has many benefits. The laws related to court-ordered rehab for substance abuse can be confusing. A lawyer understands these laws and can explain them to you.

An attorney understands the process for petitioning the court for involuntary commitment for a substance abuse problem. The lawyer prepares the documents and files them with the court. Your attorney appears at the hearing and argues in favor of the court-ordered rehab. Without a lawyer, you might make mistakes or errors in the paperwork or fail to present the required evidence to obtain the court order.

If you believe a loved one needs court-ordered rehab for a drug problem, seek legal advice before beginning the process. There could be other options to consider, and it is essential you understand the process, legal requirements, and consequences of court-ordered rehab.

Contact the family and divorce law firm of Berenji & Associates for help today.

If you’re going through a divorce, you need a strong team on your side fighting for your rights. Call Berenji & Associates today to know how we can assist you.

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9595 Wilshire Blvd Ste 959
Beverly Hills CA 90212
(310) 271-6290

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Los Angeles, CA 90013
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