How to Get Help, Not Jail

An experienced lawyer can persuade a judge to consider alternative sentencing options. Even when it seems unavoidable, a top defense lawyer gives you your best hope of avoiding jail time.

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Can My Criminal Defense Attorney Get Me into a Substance Abuse Treatment Program Instead of Jail If I’m Convicted?

Each year, thousands of people in Michigan are sentenced to jail or prison for felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions. The Michigan Department of Corrections estimates that approximately two-thirds of all defendants have some form of substance abuse issue. Some judges understand that drug and alcohol addictions significantly affect people committing crimes. Without treatment, they will return to court for another case in the future. Other judges either ignore this undeniable truth or don’t care. A persuasive defense lawyer gives defendants their greatest hope of getting a judge to consider substance abuse treatment instead of jail.

If you do not have private insurance to cover drug treatment or a private in-patient stay, you must wait to be “placed” at a facility by court order. Most defendants do not have such insurance, so it is up to your attorney to ensure you get placed into a facility by the judge.

To fix the old “revolving door” system where addictions were essentially ignored (or punished), and jail without treatment was the norm, virtually every court in the state now has alternatives available for people convicted of crimes to either get treatment while in jail or while they are on probation or at an in-patient facility. It is up to the lawyer to convince the judge to consider one of these alternatives instead of incarceration.

How Would My Criminal Defense Attorney Get Me into a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility?

It is important that if you face a criminal charge that in some way stems from an addiction, your attorney understands what the procedure is to get you into a residential treatment program. Although some judges and prosecutors understand the need for residential treatment, they often will not volunteer the possibility of outpatient drug treatment or a residential treatment program. Usually, your attorney must request such treatment; if they do not, you will go to jail.

An astute, top-rated criminal defense attorney will know that they must bring up outpatient drug treatment or placement in a residential program with the prosecutor and judge before the first court date. If an attorney does not put the issue on the table and give a heads-up to the probation department and the judge early on, a defendant may find himself sitting in jail after sentencing and waiting for placement at a residential treatment program. It sometimes takes several weeks to get a placement. If you have a great criminal defense attorney, you will most likely get into a residential program immediately upon sentencing or as soon thereafter as possible. Courts in Michigan typically have their own particular procedure for placing people in drug treatment programs, and an astute attorney will find out precisely what needs to be done to save you from jail and get you the treatment you need.

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Why is substance abuse treatment preferable to incarceration?

Substance abuse treatment as an alternative to incarceration for criminal defendants has become an increasingly popular and effective approach. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has been at the forefront in Michigan with persuading judges and prosecutors to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The Court System has, historically, been reticent to accept treatment as a valid alternative to punishment. It takes a highly persuasive and credible argument to get judges to accept the benefits of an alternative sentencing theory. Here are several reasons why treatment is often considered a better alternative:

  • Addressing the Root Cause: Substance abuse is often the underlying factor in many crimes. By addressing the root cause, treatment can help prevent future criminal activity.
  • Reduced Recidivism: Studies have shown that substance abuse treatment can significantly reduce recidivism. When incarcerated without addressing the root of their problem, individuals are more likely to return to drug use and criminal behavior once released.
  • Cost-Effective: Incarcerating individuals is expensive. In many jurisdictions, the cost of housing an inmate per year can be significantly higher than that of providing them with comprehensive substance abuse treatment.
  • Beneficial for Public Health: Helping individuals overcome their addictions can have positive ripple effects in the community. Reduced substance abuse can lead to fewer drug-related deaths, decreased transmission of drug-related diseases, and fewer drug-related accidents.
  • Overcrowding: Many prisons and jails in Michigan are overcrowded, which leads to increased tension, violence, and health risks. Offering treatment as an alternative to jail can help alleviate this issue.
  • Positive Social Impact: Treatment often includes education and job training programs that can help reintegrate individuals into society. This not only benefits the individual but the community as a whole.
  • Humanitarian Consideration: Addiction is a disease, and many believe that it should be treated as such. Jail instead of treatment can be seen as punishing someone for being sick.
  • Family Preservation: Incarceration separates individuals from their families. Providing treatment instead can help maintain family units, which is particularly crucial when children are involved.
  • Facilitates Rehabilitation: Substance abuse treatment programs help individuals develop coping strategies, build resilience, and integrate into society as productive members.
  • Evidence-Based: A growing body of research indicates that treatment, particularly when combined with other interventions like counseling and social support, is more effective at preventing relapse and criminality than punitive measures alone.
  • Community Safety: When individuals are treated for their addictions, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that can harm themselves or others.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Top-Rated Defense Attorneys to Keep You Out of Jail and Get You the Treatment You Need

The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties, and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We know exactly how to get you into a treatment program and maximize your chances of avoiding time in jail. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation while showing empathy and care for each client. If you or your loved one seeks treatment instead of jail, our team is ready, willing, and able to help!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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