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Attending Alcohol Rehab Instead of Jail Time

If you or a loved one is facing jail time because of an alcohol-related conviction, don’t panic. There is an alternative to jail – alcohol rehab. If you’re a first-time offender who sincerely wants to change, you may qualify for a special program that allows you to get the help you need rather than going to jail.

Alternative Sentencing Program

Judges throughout the United States have the discretion to sentence you to rehab rather than jail if you break the law while under the influence of alcohol.

If you’re facing alcohol-related charges for the first time, you may qualify for an alternative sentencing program rather than going to jail. Judges throughout the United States have the discretion to sentence you to rehab rather than jail if you break the law while under the influence of alcohol. This is because the United States recognizes that alcoholism is a disease and that you may not have been fully in control of your choices when you broke the law. Since most judges also are aware that alcoholics won’t get the most out of rehab unless they are ready to change their behavior, they often will ask you if you would prefer rehab or jail. You should seriously consider accepting a sentence of 30 days to a year in rehab rather than jail for the following reasons:

  • Going to jail won’t solve your alcohol problem. Jail time punishes you for your behavior and protects other people from the consequences of further alcoholic behavior. For example, if you drink and drive, going to jail protects other people from being hurt or killed when you are behind the wheel. However, jail doesn’t address your addiction or the feelings behind it, so you are more likely to repeat the behavior and end up with a longer criminal record.
  • Rehab is a chance to get help. If your drinking has landed you in legal trouble, you probably need help overcoming your addiction and may not be sure what to do to get that help. Court-ordered rehab is a gift to you; it’s an opportunity to get some help, and if your pride doesn’t allow you to admit you really need assistance you can tell friends and family that the court is requiring you to go through this program.
  • Going through rehab softens the blow of having a criminal record. Being convicted of a crime is embarrassing. In addition, it can make it more difficult to get a job after you finish your sentence or to share the details of your past when starting a new relationship. If you go through rehab, however, it shows that you took advantage of the opportunity to change and that you learned from your negative experience with the law. This makes it easier for others to give you a chance.

DUI Rehab vs Jail

The most common reason an alcoholic will be at risk of going to jail in relation to their alcohol consumption is if they were driving while intoxicated. While driving under the influence puts yourself and others at serious risk, a first-time offender usually has a fairly good chance of being sentenced to rehab instead of jail. The risk of jail time is considerably higher if the drunk driver was involved in a car accident. The risks are also considerably higher for offenders who have had more than two DUIs. In cases where rehab alone is deemed unacceptable by the court, community service is sometimes offered in place of jail time.

How Does Rehab Work?

It’s important to approach rehab with an open heart and get as much as you can out of it.

If you are sentenced to rehab, you’ll have to complete an inpatient program that lasts from 30 days to one year. The court will decide how long a program you are required to go through when you are sentenced. You are welcome to complete a longer program than required if you want to, but you can’t serve less time in rehab than is ordered by the court.

Since rehab is an inpatient program, you’ll have to live at the rehab center and participate in treatment activities. Typically, treatment includes group and individual therapy. You may also be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to get additional support with abstaining from alcohol. When you finish the program you have been required to go through, the rehab center will give you a paper to give to the court so that you can prove you did what you were supposed to do.

It’s important to approach rehab with an open heart and get as much as you can out of it. Judges don’t sentence people to rehab to go easy on them; they want to give first-time offenders the opportunity to get their lives back on track. If an alternative to jail – alcohol rehab – sounds like something you’re interested in for yourself or a loved one, call us to get in touch with people who may be able to help you.


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