Holding a valid license and a clean driving record is something that everyone takes for granted. Driving is an equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, your income, or your social status. Everyone on the road has the same rights and responsibilities as long as everyone drives responsibly.
Driving Under the Influence dramatically affects every part of an individual’s life, whether it’s work opportunities, finances, relationships, and reputation. Alcohol and Drug Evaluations – The Diversion Center – help anyone struggling with an alcohol or drug problem get the help they need. Have a loved one gotten a court-ordered drug or alcohol assessment? Here’s everything you should know.
What’s a Drug or Alcohol Assessment?
A drug or alcohol assessment is a tool used by the court system to determine whether someone has an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It may be ordered as a condition of probation, ordered as part of a criminal sentence, or conducted by Child Protective Services if they are concerned about a family member’s substance abuse.
The assessment process usually involves a clinical interview and an evaluation by a trained professional. As part of this evaluation, the professional will ask questions about your drug and alcohol use, health history, and other relevant information. The results of this evaluation will help them determine whether or not they have an addiction problem.
The court uses these tools to help decide whether you need treatment.
- The Addiction Severity Index. It is a less formal interview that covers seven topics: health, work and support, substance and alcohol use, legal and social standing, and family and mental health.
- The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) is a standardized tool used to assess the extent and severity of your addiction. It asks about your substance use history, including how often you use substances and the amount consumed. It’s usually a questionnaire.
If you’re facing charges that involve drug or alcohol use, know how this process works so that you can prepare yourself for what may happen next.
How Do You Get a Court Ordered Drug or Alcohol Assessment?
Judges can require or recommend that defendants undergo a drug or alcohol evaluation in court. The courts mandate it if driving while you have drugs or alcohol. If the courts allow it, it gets incorporated into the sentencing process.
They evaluate the substance or drug use in any state-approved facility. The defendant pays the assessment cost. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150.
The evaluation process may require the following:
- A report detailing the applicant’s past driving behavior can get this info from the DDS.
- Copies of relevant arrest records, police reports, and a complete criminal record history may also be required.
They will interview you about past substance abuse and the required paperwork. This evaluation helps determine how severe a substance abuse problem is. It also sheds light on the most effective treatment methods for achieving and maintaining abstinence.
Can Doing Drug or Alcohol Assessment Willingly Help In Your Case?
The results of a drug assessment help a judge decide on a sentence that is appropriate given the circumstances of the crime. A judge may order you to attend counseling, or treatment, which will benefit you and your case.
The judge will also consider other factors when determining what sentence to give a criminal defendant. These factors may include the following:
- The severity of their crime
- Whether they have gotten convicted of similar crimes in the past
- How long ago was their last conviction was
The sentencing hearing will occur after the court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluation is completed and reviewed.
Will a Court Ordered Drug or Alcohol Assessment Help You Recover?
If they charge you with a crime, a court-mandated drug or alcohol assessment can benefit you. The assessment will help you determine whether you need treatment for substance abuse, and if so, it will provide you with the opportunity to seek that treatment.
This assessment is not to punish you or make you feel guilty about your addiction but rather to help you get back on track and stay there. While these assessments help in the sentencing process for certain crimes, they are also done voluntarily by those who want help.
If you do opt to do this type of assessment voluntarily, ensure that the center or facility administering it meets all state requirements and is certified by the state. Ensure its staff members are qualified and experienced enough to provide quality care and advice.
Once you have the order in hand, call the nearest assessment site and inform them about the court order for alcohol or drug assessment. The law requires assessment sites to keep your records confidential, so there is no need to worry about privacy issues.