The Importance of the Drug and Alcohol Evaluation

Courts can order drug and alcohol abuse evaluations

In most criminal cases that involve the abuse of drugs or alcohol, there is the possibility that the court will order a drug and alcohol evaluation from a state certified treatment agency. If you are convicted of a DUI, the evaluation may, in fact, be mandatory. Even if your DUI charge is reduced to a lesser charge such as reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or negligent driving, you may still be ordered to obtain a DUI evaluation. Once you have undergone a the evaluation, the court will order you to follow the treatment recommendations made by the specific agency. Keeping this in mind, you should undergo an evaluation at the earliest possible moment, which will show the court and the prosecutor that you are taking responsibility for your actions, and will also allow you to know what the recommended treatment plan will be. There are several issues you should be aware of when setting up your appointment for an evaluation. 

The Process

While the process of going through a drug and alcohol evaluation based on your arrest, is relatively straightforward, you should know that the treatment agency will need to have certain information about you before they can make their recommendation. They will need a copy of your driving record, a copy of your criminal history, and a copy of the arresting officer's report. Either you can provide this information, or it can come from your attorney. You may be required to undergo a drug and alcohol urinalysis screening, and these results may become an important part of your final recommendation. Your actual evaluation will include some written testing and oral questioning, then the counselor will draft a written report of his or her recommendations. 

Outcomes

There are a range of possible outcomes regarding your evaluation, but essentially your counselor will place one of three different labels on you. You will either be deemed to be chemically dependent upon drugs or alcohol, to be suffering from drug or alcohol abuse or the potential for abuse, or it will be found that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that you have any problem at all with drugs or alcohol. If you are found to fall in the "dependency" category, the counselor will probably recommend that you undergo a lengthy drug and alcohol treatment, probably from eight months to two years. You would be required to go to group and individual meetings at a certified treatment facility as well as AA meetings. If you are placed in the "abuse" or "abuse potential" category, your recommendation could be anything from a few individual counseling sessions to a more lengthy program of six to twelve months. Finally, if the counselor determines there is insufficient evidence of a problem, you may be able to attend a one day alcohol and drug school 

Legal Help

If you have received a DUI, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you through the various requirements from the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles. You should have a DUI evaluation done promptly, and have your attorney prep your thoroughly before hand.

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