What Do I Do If My Loved One Is Arrested for Drugs or Alcohol?

What do I do if my loved one was arrested for drugs?
Dominic Nicosia

Written By

Dominic Nicosia

If you’re loved one is battling substance use disorder, it’s often only a matter of time before they’re arrested for drugs or alcohol. Whether it’s a possession charge, an intent-to-sell offense, a DUI, or any other alcohol or drug-related crime, this arrest could either mean the moment they turn it all around and get treatment or one of many in a series of crimes that land them in and out jail as addiction slowly takes over. As a family member or close friend, you may have more power than you realize to guide your loved one toward treatment after an arrest. With that in mind, here are some things to do if your loved one is facing legal jeopardy for an addiction-related charge.

Make Sure They’re OK

The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure your loved one hasn’t overdosed or is not in danger of overdosing. While it’s not common, it’s also not unheard of for people to overdose in police custody. In 2020 alone, there were well-publicized cases in New Jersey, North Carolina, Arizona and Texas, a state in which Recovery Unplugged offers treatment at our Austin detox, rehab and treatment locations. Get an idea of your loved one’s condition from the police and request that the be taken to the hospital if they complain that they can’t breathe, are incoherent or are exhibiting any other signs of overdose.

Get A Clear Idea of the Charges They’re Facing

Once you know they’re OK, you can focus on addressing the legal fallout that may await them. If it’s your underage son or daughter who has been arrested, they’re likely to face a different set of charges than if they’re an adult. In any case, it’s critical to get an idea of the charges they’re facing as well as the potential sentencing that accompanies the crimes, for example:

If Your Loved One is Arrested for Drugs in Florida

At the very least, juveniles facing a first-time possession charge in Florida for cannabis (less than 20 grams) can face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Sentencing varies for adults according to quantity, types of drugs found and other factors. Consult the 2020 Florida Drug Statutes to learn more about your loved one’s specific offense and possible sentencing.

If Your Loved One is Arrested for Drugs in Texas

Texas still maintains harsh penalties for marijuana, despite widespread legalization efforts, and even harsher penalties for other drug-related offenses. At the very least, possession of under two ounces of marijuana can result in six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Other potential penalties for drug offenses can be found in the 2020 Texas Drug Laws.

If You Loved One Was Arrested for Drugs in Tennessee

Simple drug possession in Tennessee is considered a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $2500 fine. Consult the current Tennessee drug laws to get a more accurate idea of the sentencing your loved one may be facing for their specific offense.

Recovery Unplugged can help your loved one explore drug courts in these states and others to identify possible alternative sentencing options.

Get A Lawyer

A defense lawyer who understands the drug court programs in the state where your loved one was arrested for drugs can be your guide through the legal process, and can help you achieve the best possible outcome for alternative sentencing and treatment over incarceration. They will likely have established relationships with drug court judges in the area, and can help you to quickly begin the process of getting  your loved one into a program so they can begin healing. Be sure to tell the attorney everything about your loved one’s case, including if this is their first offense, their age and the exact nature of their crime. They will be able to give you a clear picture of what you and your loved one are up against, and how they may be able to help.

Monitor Their Behavior

There will likely be an extended period of time between your loved one’s drug arrest and when they appear in court. During that time, it’s important that they stay clean, avoid consorting with people with whom they were using and refrain from doing anything else that can jeopardize their current legal standing. As a loved one, you can help make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do by calling them often, stopping by randomly and spending as much time with them as you can. The reality of addiction is that it makes people do things that defy logic, including using even when they’re trying to avoid going to jail for a drug-related offense. You can do your best to help them stay clean just by being there and lending your support during the process.

Get Involved…and Stay There

Do whatever you can to work their attorney and the drug court judge to find treatment for your loved one. Try and attend all important court proceedings to vouch for their commitment to the program they enter and to verify their compliance. If they relapse, don’t try to hide it or sugar-coat it. Make yourself available to the court whenever needed and just continue to do only what you can do to help your loved one get the treatment they need.

If your loved one was arrested for drugs in Florida or Texas, Recovery Unplugged may be able to help them get the second chance they need to reclaim their lives from alcohol or drug addiction. We work with drug court programs in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida and Travis County in Texas. Don’t let one mistake derail your loved one’s life. Recovery Unplugged is ready to help them overcome addiction through detox, rehab and Music-Assisted Treatment. Contact our admissions staff today to learn more about our court liaison services and what we can do for you.

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia, a seasoned content writer, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the realm of healthcare writing, particularly in the addiction care field. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Professional Writing from the University of the Arts Philadelphia (2009), Dominic has carved a niche for himself with over seven years of specialized writing experience in addiction care.

As the Senior Content Writer at Recovery Unplugged, Dominic is entrusted with the pivotal role of curating and overseeing the online blog, ensuring its alignment with the highest standards of accuracy, relevance, and trustworthiness. His responsibilities extend beyond the blog, encompassing all written communications within the Marketing domain. From articles and thought leadership pieces to web content, Dominic's penmanship is evident in every written facet of Recovery Unplugged.

Dominic's credibility is further enhanced by his contributions to esteemed publications like Austin Fit Magazine, where he delves into critical topics such as drug use, addiction, recovery, and mental health. His writings not only reflect his profound understanding of the subject matter but also resonate with readers, offering insights and guidance. Outside the professional sphere, Dominic's passion for music is evident. He has been writing and playing music for years, showcasing his versatility and depth as a writer and artist.

Dominic Nicosia stands as a beacon of expertise and credibility in the healthcare writing community. With a deep understanding of his subject matter and a commitment to accuracy, he consistently delivers content that is both informative and reliable, meeting the highest standards of quality and trustworthiness in the industry.


  • Proven track record in managing and enhancing online blogs, articles, and thought leadership pieces.
  • Adept at blending his passion for music with his writing, offering a unique perspective on topics.


  • Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Professional Writing from the University of the Arts Philadelphia (2009).
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