Addiction has a way of making people feel invincible. When you’re drunk or high, you feel like nothing can touch you. This is especially common in younger people, as they think “I’m too young to die, so therefore I won’t.” You take more risks when you’re an addict. You drive home when you’re plastered. You start hanging out with people you don’t know because they have “good” drugs. When an acquaintance asks if you want to start selling a little, you may even say, “Yes,” because hey, what could go wrong?
Plenty, but you may have to be locked in a jail cell before you realize it. Cops have no problem busting drunk drivers. They also have no problem finding people in possession of hard drugs and asking them to turn state’s informant on their friends and acquaintances. That drug buys your friend set up may actually be with an undercover police officer since many people who get caught with drugs feel like they have no choice but to cooperate with a sting, especially if cops say it’s the only way to avoid jail time.
In short, there’s a significant portion of the criminal justice system that’s vested in arresting addicts. Efforts to catch drunk drivers have ramped up in recent years, and the War on Drugs has been around since the eighties. If you get arrested for drugs or alcohol, you should obtain a criminal defense lawyer as soon as humanly possible. If you can’t afford to hire one, you’ll be assigned a public defender.
A lot of addicts who are facing jail time panic. They think they can make it all go away somehow if they just volunteer to go to rehab. It will look better if you can tell the judge you’re getting treatment, right? Maybe, but a lot of that depends on the particular factors of your case. If this is your first DUI, rehab might be a great idea. If it’s your second or third one, though, it’s going to be harder to convince the right people that you can change. They’ll think that you’ve already had plenty of chances.
Really, the best time to go to rehab is before you get arrested. You’ll have more time to find the right treatment facility without the fear of jail time and a felony record breathing down your neck. Once you’re in the criminal justice system, a lot depends on circumstances out of your control. Some jurisdictions devote a lot of resources to things like drug court, which puts an emphasis on treatment and oversight. If offenders successfully fulfill the terms of the program, the criminal charges are usually dismissed. It’s a great way to help nonviolent offenders, but it’s not available everywhere.
It’s true that most judges are interested in seeing offenders make strides to get their life back together. They want action instead of lip service, so if you’re going back to school and trying to make an honest living, that’s great. But it’s no guarantee that you’ll receive leniency. Only you can make the decision to try and get sober, and it’s much better if can make it on your own. Realize you need help without getting arrested, and you’ll have much better options.