man in handcuffs legal consequences of addiction

What Are The Legal Consequences of Addiction?

Addiction creates turmoil of all kinds in the lives of both the user and those around them. After entering treatment and learning how to stay sober, many addicts and alcoholics immediately turn their focus toward mending the damage caused by their substance use. In many cases, they cannot resolve all of their issues without reaching out for help. Such is especially the case regarding the legal consequences of addiction.

A well-operated treatment center can provide the resources necessary to help clients both understand and overcome these consequences. By identifying the extent of your consequences and asking for help, you can overcome any barriers standing between you and the life of freedom you desire.

Short-Term Legal Consequences of Addiction

Many patients enter addiction treatment by court order after suffering minor legal consequences of addiction. Infractions that may lead to this outcome include DUIs, possession charges, and selling drugs. Usually, those who enter treatment to appease the court do so to avoid more severe alternatives such as jail time.

In these cases, your treatment center does not need to do much to help you other than provide character letters to the court demonstrating that you have been successful in your program. Aside from that, your treatment team’s only duty is to help you achieve long-term recovery. Those who suffer even minor legal consequences of addiction would do well to take their treatment seriously, as a strong program of relapse prevention can help to ensure that you never suffer these consequences again.

Barriers, Restrictions and Red Tape

Long-term legal consequences of addiction will vary depending upon where your offense was committed. You can actually research the collateral consequences of your charges by using a jurisdiction map provided by the American Bar Association and the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

In many cases, long-term legal consequences of addiction will include loss of access to government benefits and programs. This can include food stamps, welfare, or public housing. Not everyone will lose access to these benefits, as it depends upon your location and the offense committed. Those who use while in college may also lose access to any government-funded financial aid they may have received prior to the offense. Career, housing options, credit applications and other freedoms may also be limited. In the case of a felony, you will also lose the right to vote on important matters or own a firearm.

Other Consequences of a Criminal Record

Not all legal consequences of addiction pertain to government benefits. Barriers may also exist in the form of people and institutions that limit their association with anyone followed by a criminal record. For instance, not all businesses will employ those who have been convicted of certain crimes. In fact, health care facilities cannot employ people convicted of certain crimes because federal law prevents them from doing so.

Legal consequences of addiction may affect your social life as well. Many people hold resentments against addicts and alcoholics. Sometimes this resentment stems from prior experience with someone who suffers from the disease. Others resent addicts due to the economic costs of addiction, which total approximately $193 billion for drugs and $249 billion for alcohol according to a Surgeon General’s report. They feel their taxes have been affected by the problems of other people, and can be quite harsh when speaking on the matter. Should your legal consequences enter the conversation with such a person, you will not likely receive much in the way of sympathy.

How Aspire Health Network Can Help

When you seek treatment at a facility such as Aspire Treatment Center, you gain access to case management services that can help you overcome the legal consequences of addiction. Aspire Health Network facilities will help you re-apply for lost government benefits when possible, and will speak with parties of influence on your behalf to help you acquire housing or other resources. We also provide groups with a strong focus on life skills to help you overcome employment barriers.

Finally, as far as those who resent you simply for your addiction or legal history, you needn’t concern yourself with them. You will find yourself amid a community of caring and understanding individuals who judge you not for your past actions but for the person you are working to become. Judgmental people will still enter your life from time to time, but you will have a steady support network to keep you strong in the face of adversity.

If you require treatment at a facility that can help you with the legal consequences of addiction, contact Aspire for assistance. We will provide you with any information you might need regarding our ability to help you get your life on the right track and overcome the red tape created by your past.