Can Your Family Force You Into Rehab?

Many addicts are the last to recognize that they have a problem. Others feel that they can solve it themselves, without the need for admission into a full-fledged rehabilitation program. Still, some exasperated parents and siblings may not be willing to wait for a family member to sort out their addictions on their own, and will seek to forcibly institutionalize them.

But is that legal? Can you be compelled to go to rehab against your will?

Just Say No

The general answer is: No. Most state laws don't permit forcible rehab of adults (outside of criminal sentencing for drug- or alcohol-related crimes, of course). And almost no rehab facilities will admit a patient who doesn't want to be there -- both out of legal liability issues and because a recalcitrant patient is rarely successful at managing their issues. This is not true for children, however. A parent or legal guardian can put a person under the age of 18 into a rehab program without their permission.

So, for the most part, while your family may come up with a compelling argument for you to go to rehab (and perhaps withhold money, room, or board in exchange for such a deal), they can't legally compel you enter a rehab or treatment facility.

Hold Up

There are some exceptions to that rule, though. If someone believes a person is a danger to themselves or others, most states allow a temporary period of custody or a "hold" on them for assessment and possible treatment. Known in California as a "5150" (in reference to the section of the Welfare Institutions Code under which it is permitted), it allows officers to take a person into custody "for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention," if that person "as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled."

Such holds are often temporary, although some statutes allow doctors to recommend a longer custody period if the person requires intensive treatment prior to their release.

Family members may be at their wits' end when it comes to a loved one dealing with addiction. But for better or worse, forced rehab is normally not one of their options. If you're the family member or the loved one struggling with addiction in this scenario, consider contacting an experienced health care attorney to discuss your legal options

By Christopher Coble, Esq.

[The Serious] Immigration Consequences of a DUI

When a person who is not a citizen is convicted of DUI, this conviction can have a serious effect on his or her ability to be admitted to the United States or remain in the United States.


If a person has not yet entered the United States, his or her primary concern will be whether a DUI can make him or her inadmissible, meaning that he or she will not be able to acquire a visa or a green card. Laws regarding inadmissibility deal with when a person is barred from entering the country with an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. However, inadmissibility laws also deal with re-entry, such as when an immigrant is initially granted lawful status, travels to another country and then seeks to come into the United States again. There are several laws that affect whether a person is admissible or not, including:

Commission of a Crime of Moral Turpitude

One way that a person is considered inadmissible is if he or she commits a crime of moral turpitude. This type of crime is usually considered a serious offense that goes against social norms. Often, crimes of violence are considered crimes involving moral turpitude such as murder, assault or rape. On its own without any aggravating factors, one DUI does not generally fall under this umbrella. 

Committing a Crime Involving a Controlled Substance

The United States takes a hard stance against drugs and includes the commission of a crime involving a controlled substance as a ground to deny admissibility. Sometimes even if a person admits to violating a criminal substance law and has not been convicted, he or she can still be considered inadmissible. Since some DUI convictions are based on being under the influence of a drug, this provision may be implicated depending on the particular circumstances.

Crimes Involving a Sentence of Five Years

A person is also considered inadmissible if he or she has been convicted of two or more crimes that resulted in a sentence of five years or more. While a single DUI does not usually include a sentence of this term, multiple DUIs when added together may. The suspended portion of a sentence may be included in the calculation. 

Addiction Status

Another ground for inadmissibility is if the immigrant has a drug or alcohol addiction. Multiple DUI convictions may support a determination to this effect. 

Being convicted of multiple DUI offenses or when aggravating factors are present may be enough to make a person inadmissible depending on the particular circumstances involved in the case. 

Deportable Consequences

After a person receives lawful immigration status and is admitted to the United States, he or she may be deportable, or removable in immigration terms, if he or she commits certain crimes. His or her green card can be taken away or he or she can otherwise be stripped of lawful status, resulting in him or her being taken out of the country and barred from re-entry for many years. A person can be considered deportable in the following circumstances:

Conviction of an Aggravated Felony

If a person is convicted of an aggravated felony, he or she can be deportable. This type of crime is usually considered serious in nature any involve such crimes as murder, rape, trafficking, obstruction of justice, using false documents, forgery and other crimes. There is a long list of offenses that are listed in this category. The relevant determination is how the crime is classified under immigration law and not whether the crime was considered a misdemeanor or felony under state law. Additionally, some crimes must have resulted in a conviction of one year or more in order to qualify as an aggravated felony. In the determination of whether an immigrant was convicted of an aggravated felony, the immigration court can consider cases in which the immigrant’s sentence was deferred even if it would not be considered a conviction under state law. If a case was expunged, the court can still consider it as a conviction.

Commission of a Crime of Moral Turpitude

Like with admissibility, the immigration officer can consider a crime involving moral turpitude. The officer looks at any such crime committed within five years of admission and for which the sentence was one year or more. The officer can also consider whether there were two separate crimes involving moral turpitude. 

Offenses Related to a Controlled Substance

Another possibility is if the individual commits a crime involving a controlled substance.
An immigration lawyer can discuss the potential ramifications of being convicted of a DUI and how it may impact the person’s ability to enter or remain in the country.
Source: HG

 If you have any additional questions or queries contact us at (954).944.2799 or emailinfo@DSALegalGroup.com

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact an attorney.