In many states, anyone convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) must complete an alcohol and drug abuse evaluation. While penalties such as fines and jail time are designed to punish offenders, the goal of the substance abuse evaluation is to identify and treat any alcohol or drug dependencies the offender might have. Here are some of the basics about when an evaluation may be required and how these evaluations work.
An alcohol and drug evaluation (or substance abuse evaluation) typically consists of an interview with a licensed therapist or counselor to determine the presence and extent of any substance dependencies. The person being evaluated might also need to complete drug and alcohol testing and questionnaires about his or her history of alcohol and drug use.
In some states, substance abuse evaluations are conducted by a state agency. In other states, private entities that are licensed by the state conduct these court-order evaluations.
Substance abuse evaluations generally cost around $100 and may take an hour or two to complete.
Based on the results of the evaluation, the counselor or evaluator creates a treatment plan for the assessed individual. Assessment recommendations are, of course, individualized but can include:
In some states, the recommendations are almost completely up to the evaluator. Other states have minimum treatment requirements that might depend on factors such as how many prior DUI convictions the offender has and the offender's blood alcohol concentration.
The laws of many states require anyone who is convicted of a DUI to complete alcohol and drug evaluation. (Non-DUI alcohol- and drug-related criminal convictions might also require the offender to obtain an evaluation.) And in states that have DUI diversion and DUI court programs, a substance abuse evaluation is generally required for all program participants. Even in situations where a substance abuse evaluation isn't mandatory, judges usually have the option of ordering an evaluation where they think it's appropriate.
In some states, offenders are required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment before they'll be able to reinstate a suspended license. Completion of the evaluation and treatment can also be a prerequisite for the offender to obtain an ignition interlock restricted driver's license.