GOING TO REHAB
Rehabilitation, or the concept of getting professional assistance to recover from an impairment, has become a popular way to deal with one’s setbacks. There are many types of rehabs today. Some address physical impairments or maladies – like recovering from surgery or disease in a hospital setting. The type of rehab that seems to be widely discussed in the media, however, is that for substance abuse. Some substance abuse programs focus solely on breaking the addictive cycle of the substance abuser while others also address underlying mental health issues that drive the addiction. Individuals who attend these programs are treated both inpatient as well as outpatient which allows less interruption to a person’s daily affairs.
Can these programs be used to replace the required certified substance abuse programs required by the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles? Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. The DMV suspends the license based on a DUI related arrest if not set-aside or conviction. One condition for lifting the suspension is enrollment in and completion of a state certified alcohol program. A substance abuse rehab program does not satisfy the requirement. As such completing such a rehab program will have no impact on the license suspension.
Can the program be used to replace the alcohol program for court? Maybe…but it’s not a good idea to push this. California law requires that a judge order an individual to attend and complete a state certified alcohol program (the same one as the DMV). Theoretically, the court can order the state certified program but allow the person to attend rehab instead. However, this type of deviation might cause confusion in its implementation. Plus, since the DMV will require the state certified program it is a waste to do the rehab solely for the purpose of avoiding the state certified program.
So, now you are probably wondering how a rehab program can help your case if you can’t use it to replace the state certified program. Going to rehab is a good for mitigation – reducing the consequences of the offense by showing positive facts relating to the accused. Attending an inpatient rehab program is preferable when trying to reduce the penalty for a DUI conviction. Also, the rehab should address substance abuse. A rehab that focuses solely on mental health issues is not very helpful when showing mitigation. If done properly, an inpatient rehab – especially one that lasts at least 30 days - can reduce mandatory jail time for a DUI, the charge level of a DUI, or any additional punishment from the court.
In closing, rehab can serve many useful purposes including the sentence for a DUI conviction in court – not the DMV.