Voice for the Defense
Drinking problems spawn a wide variety of offenses, and the exposure to arrest and conviction abates only when the source of the problem is eliminated. The Texas Legislature introduced one option to avoid future convictions by passing Article 5561c, which created the Texas Commission on Alcoholism. Section 12 of the original Article enables judges in misdemeanor cases to remand a defendant to a treatment facility in lieu of imposition of sentencing. There were numerous factors that conspired to prevent the widespread use of Section 12 by defense counsels, including the availability of treatment facilities and cost of treatment. In 1977, the Legislature amended Section 12 to largely solve these factors. The law is now in place and provides a workable sentencing alternative and assistance in preventing future prosecutions. There is no reason for this useful provision to continue to lie dormant.
Gerald S. Reamey, A Statutory Sentencing Alternative for Alcohol Related Crimes, 12 Voice for the Def. 12 (1983).