Following, we review why courts require DUI assessments, when DUI assessments occur in the legal process, why you should take a DUI assessment and what it covers.
Why do courts use DUI assessments?
Convicted DUI and DWI offenders undergo chemical dependency assessments in order for the court system to determine whether or not you have a drug or alcohol problem. The point of an assessment is to evaluate your level of drug or alcohol use and to recommend necessary treatment to prevent substance abuse or another DUI in the future.
DUI assessments take place before trial
Alcohol and drug assessments are conducted before a trial but after sentencing. After a DUI assessment, both state DUI criminal courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can order a DUI offender to attend substance abuse education classes or treatment programs, the results of which are taken into consideration in final sentencing.
Why take a DUI assessment?
1. To comply with the law – Some states have passed mandatory alcohol and drug assessment laws which require convicted DUI offenders to undergo an assessment of alcohol abuse problems. So a DUI assessment may be a legal necessity. See a state-by-state review of DUI laws to check out what is required where you live.
2. DUI assessments may lessen penalties - In general, is in your best interest to have a DUI Assessment and begin the recommended treatment before your trial date. Although this will not impact your DUI arrest record, your cooperation in a DUI assessment may help get you a less severe punishment. For example, alcohol education programs can often replace, reduce or eliminate harsher DUI penalties in drunk-driving cases, such as court fines, license suspension and jail time.
3. DUI assessments can help you understand your addiction potential – If you have received a DUI, the courts will take the final recommendations in the assessment very seriously in your sentencing. You should too. If you are open and honest with your assessor, you will receive an assessment that truly reflects your position and can give you more information about whether or not you have an addiction to drug or alcohol. And this information can help you start medical, mental and emotional recovery from problem drinking or drugs.
What’s included in a DUI assessment
During a DUI assessment, you sit down in a face-to-face clinical interview with a state certified assessor. Again, the assessment is used to determine possible substance abuse problems. This is why DUI assessment are usually very in-depth and take time. The most common indicators that assessors report include:
- alcohol use
- drug use
- substance abuse or dependency
- driver risk
- stress coping abilities
DUI assessments may also report your biomedical condition, withdrawal potential (if any), emotional and behavorial status, treatment acceptance or resistance, relapse potential, and your recovery environment.
Do you need to know the AA 12 steps for a DUI assessment?
Knowing the 12 steps of AA for a DUI assessment is an indicator that you have been involved in alcohol treatment in the past. But memorizing the 12 steps of AA for a DUI assessment may not help you in the long run.
Because DUI assessments are used to report your level of drug or alcohol dependency to state governments such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or DUI criminal courts. And you want to give an accurate picture of your drug or alcohol use in order to get appropriate help (which may include attendance at AA/NA meetings in the future or eventually medication for alcoholism). And it’s really best to enter a DUI assessment with an attitude of openness and honesty.
If you have additional questions about DUI assessments, please leave them below.