At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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Which Rehab Programs Are Court Approved In California?

For the DUI School that we’re talking about, the DUI schools, there is a list of them that the DMV has and I have them. They are hard to find online but they are certified by the State of California and they will tell you that when you go into them. I’ve never seen one that didn’t need the qualifications; they wouldn’t stay open. For other things, like rehab, AA meetings, those kinds of things, there is no set standard. Sometimes with some programs, it can be a good idea if the court is aware of them and they know about them. You want to make sure that wherever you go has proper doctors and letterhead to show that it’s a rehab facility with people who are professionals who are in charge and that’s something where you get referrals to a rehab from your insurance company, especially if it’s residential. It’s almost certainly going to be something that will count for the court purposes to help get credit against any potential sentence that you may be looking at.

Sometimes if you’re charged with a felony and you go right into rehab, the prosecution, depending on the severity of the injury, may be willing to reduce it to a misdemeanor. A lot of different things can help do that. One is willing to take instant responsibility for your actions and to step up and do something like that could be pretty amazing in helping get a better result in a case. For people who are really facing serious felony charges where they have multiple DUIs, four or more within 10 years of prior felony DUIs, or when people are seriously hurt, injured, in those cases, a longer residential treatment program would be advised. Very often for those, the court may look a little more favorably on one that does not allow you, especially for the first month, to leave the facility.

There are some really good treatment places where you can work. They are residential and you live there. Some courts may not look as favorably on those so talk to the lawyer that is going to help you with your case and go over those issues with them. The ones where they do let you work during the day, and there are a very few of those, those are often much cheaper. They are a better option for people who need to keep their jobs. They’re paying their mortgages or their bills and they have families, but hopefully anyone who needs to go into rehab either has the resources or can find the help from friends and family, employers, and insurance to be able to get by for at least four weeks or so that rehab usually involves and start that way. You have such a better chance of success with rehab and this is something that we haven’t gone into but I think it’s really important.

You get that DUI in the San Francisco Bay area, whatever county it’s in, whether it’s Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara, whatever county it’s in, all these courts are tough on DUI and there’s no easy court. They’re all looking to put people behind bars who do serious damage to others. We’re talking about a system that is dealing with many people who are alcoholics all the time on a daily basis. What this system will often give credit for is people who are willing to go into residential treatment. There is more credit there than day treatment and more credit there than AA meetings. People ask me all the time and I say, “You need to go into residential” and they say “Well, can’t I just do day treatment, can’t I just do AA meetings”. The answer is usually you can but we’re not going to be able to get you the credit. The reason is very simple. Most courts understand, and if not, we try and make them understand, that people who are alcoholics, who have serious alcohol or drug problems or both, need to go into treatment and the longer they go into treatment the better chance they have of success. That’s just the way it works. You ask any treatment center, they will tell you that; you ask anybody who finally was able to maintain a long, hopefully many years of sobriety, that’s typically the story you will hear. It may be, “Yes, I went into a treatment for a week or two”, or I did this but as soon as someone’s back in the mainstream, if they have not had enough time to get used to be in a sober environment, away from everything, away from their normal life duties, they’re going to go right back into it. And it may not be going back to the drink or the drug of choice, it may be something else that gets them there and then they work back up to it or they substitute it for something else, different substance or type of alcohol, but the odds of recovery working increase in most cases when someone spends more time in residential treatment. Very often, a month is not enough. Some people need a lot more than that and some people need to go back multiple times.

If you want to give yourself or your loved one or your friend or your employee who you’re trying to help the best chance they have at success to recover, because obviously they are damaging their lives and those around them and their health is going to deteriorate by continuing to do this, but in this sense here, we are talking about DUIs, so keeping societies safe, that person needs residential treatment for as long as they can do it. That may be a financial thing, it may be an insurance thing but in most cases, if you can get someone into a treatment for a month, that’s going to be a great kick start. It is important too when they get out to have a plan. That transition should be an intensive outpatient program and you want to do it right. Let’s say you’re a parent reading this and your child or your friend or someone you know or care about is doing rehab and you’re involved in their lives. You’re helping guide them or giving them advice or paying forward or taking care of their kids or watching their dog while they’re dealing with this, what that person to have the best chance of recovery needs to do as soon as they are done with inpatient is they need to do outpatient. The best thing that could happen is for them to go to that first meeting that same day they get out or the next day at the latest, if possible. The inpatient programs you’ll often see are three times a week, sometimes more, usually three hours a day, and those will often involve lecture and then more of a sharing. What’s happening is the addicts, in recovery, need to hold each other accountable; that’s what works. It’s like going to the gym at New Year’s and you’re going a number of times and then you stop, unless you have friends or family members who are going to and expect you to be there and you hold each other accountable; being held accountable is what works for most people.

You’ve got to want it yourself more than anything, that’s where it starts, but you can’t do it on your own. Almost no one can do it on their own and that’s why these outpatient programs are so important. You do these intensive outpatient programs and often in the evenings you go back to work or to a different job or if you lost your job and do that for a number of months and then what would be good for a lot of people is to be in an SLE (Sober Living Environment) while this is going on when they get out of rehab. If that’s not possible, that’s understandable, but that gives people the best odds. While all this is going on, AA meetings continue. When the Intensive Outpatient Program is over, they need to do AA meetings and it’s got to be more than every couple of weeks. It can taper off eventually, but people need to keep going back, they need that reminder. You have to have that reminder, because as soon as someone lets their guard down that may be too late and that’s not okay. Its hard work; recovery is hard work; there is nothing easy about it. It’s the hardest work people ever do in their lives and I have the utmost respect for anybody who is trying as hard as they can to stand recovery.

For more information on Court Approved Rehab Programs, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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