Should I get an alcohol evaluation after a DUI?
In a case when a person has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, expect part of the sentence to involve an alcohol and substance abuse evaluation. A further order of court will be to follow all recommendations of the evaluation, and the defendant must successfully complete the program that he or she has been referred to. Regardless of whether the DUI charge has been reduced to a “wet reckless” or even negligent driving, these conditions will be imposed.
For purposes of posturing a case with the prosecution and the judge, a person who is charged with DUI and knows that they are guilty should schedule an evaluation at their earliest possible convenience. If he or she is found not guilty in the future, or if the case is dismissed, that person need not do anything further beyond the evaluation. If there’s a high likelihood of being found guilty or pleading guilty to DUI or a lesser offense, the defendant will stand out from just about everybody else in the courtroom by demonstrating a new sense of awareness and responsibility. That can make a big difference in whether a prosecutor wants to try to make an example out of somebody, or whether he or she is willing to work with us when we lay out favorable sentencing alternatives.
For purposes of the evaluation, you’ll need to bring copies of the following documents with you:
- Your DMV driving record
- A criminal history search
- Your arrest paperwork including the arrest report
The evaluation will consist of written and oral questions. The evaluator will be looking for inconsistencies. A urinalysis will likely be required. The person who conducts the interview will draft a written report that discloses all of his or her findings and recommendations. Judges rarely deviate from those recommendations.
Beware of conflicts of interest
The county that you are being prosecuted in will have a list of acceptable evaluation facilities. Nearly all of those facilities also provide drug and DUI programs too, but be aware of the fact that a conflict of interest might exist. For example, facility might offer a free or inexpensive evaluation, but its objective is to get people into its program through that marketing tool. The programs are where they make their real money. Other entities might only perform objective evaluations, and provide no treatment. With those evaluators, there’s no pressure for people to go to any particular service provider. They can go anywhere, so long as that provider is on the list of the court’s approved providers.
After an evaluation, a person is assessed as NSP, SP1 or SP2. Different levels have different treatment and responsibilities.
An NSP evaluation has determined that there is no evidence to support an opinion that an individual has any drug or alcohol issues. A single day eight hour long drug and alcohol awareness program is all that would be required.
If an individual is evaluated at SP1, there has been a determination that he or she misuses or abuses alcohol or drugs. The person would be required to participate in and successfully complete a program of six months to one year duration. Complete abstinence is required while participating, and random drug and alcohol tests are given. Either individual or group counseling must be attended at least once a week.
When a person is drug or alcohol dependent, he or she is evaluated as SP2. Level SP2 is for those who misuse or abuse alcohol or drugs. The program lasts from six months to one year. Complete abstinence is required during the term of the program along with random testing. Intensive outpatient programs last nine months or two years. In the alternative, an inpatient program can be undertaken that lasts 21 to 28 days. The program consists of three phases. The first phase involves 72 hours of group and individual therapy for three to four months. Phase two is six months long, and it also consists of both group and individual therapy. AA or NA meetings at least twice a week are required along with verification of attendance. A third phase involves yet another 15 months of additional group or individual therapy.
Contact a Spokane DUI Lawyer today
Some DUI defendants are smart enough to know that the court will be standing on their shoulders after a conviction for any drug or alcohol offense that occurred while they were behind the wheel. The last thing that they want is for the court to exercise its sentencing discretion to the upper end of what’s permitted. If you have been charge with DUI in Spokane Valley or around Spokane, contact us today.