Getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious and criminal offense. Whether a driver intentionally or unintentionally gets behind the wheel intoxicated, they’ll have to live with the legal consequences of a DUI, often for many years to come.
However, most offenders are willing to commit to a “rehabilitation” process, to both redeem their actions and their driving records. This is where the DUI evaluation process comes into play. This post will examine how the DUI evaluation process works for convicted drunk drivers, and how it can help them improve their standing with the law over time.
DUI evaluation factors
In most states, motorists charged with a DUI must undergo a DUI evaluation—a substance abuse evaluation—before being ordered a sentence. The purpose of this assessment is to determine if the charged motorist has a drug or substance abuse problem and measure their probability of driving impaired again. Based on the results of the evaluation, a treatment plan can be developed for the offenders.
The drug and alcohol assessment consists of interview questions designed to determine the seriousness of the offense, the needs of the substance user, and the severity and level of care. They’re often composed of multiple data sources, such as overall driving history, psychological history, medical results of chemical tests (blood alcohol levels, blood concentration of narcotics), treatment history, mental illness, family drinking details, employment status, and past and present alcohol and drug use. Also, the assessor may ask you how alcohol and/or drugs affect your life and how you view them.
DUI risk evaluation
The accessor uses tools, such as the CAGE (Cut, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-Opener) questionnaire or AUI (Alcohol Use Inventory) to determine if a DUI offender is trying to hide alcohol abuse. They also use SASSI (Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory) to figure out the risk factor for an alcohol or drug abuse disorder depending on Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and other factors. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood, crash risk increases exponentially.
- Minimal risk: This applies if you had a BAC below a certain threshold and no previous drunk driving convictions
- Moderate risk: This could apply if you had a high BAC in your current case but no prior DUI convictions
- Significant risk: If you had previous DUI convictions or a high BAC, you may be assigned this risk level
- High risk: If you show signs of dependence on substances, you may be considered high risk even if you did not have previous DUI convictions on your record
Based on the risk level, a judge may require you to complete hours of DUI risk education, and go through some minimum alcohol or drug treatment. You may also be ordered to participate in a continuing care plan.
Importance of cooperating
It’s wise to be truthful about your alcohol use and other facts while going through a DUI evaluation. This is important if you wish to smoothly regain driving privileges. It’ll be easy to lie on one. However, if you’re pulled over again for another DUI offense, things may go wrong for you.
If you don’t cooperate with the assessment, you may face delayed sentencing, additional evaluation cost, and partial/complete loss of your driving rights.
Speaking to a lawyer
If you’ve been accused of drunk driving, it’s generally a good idea to reach out to a qualified auto accident injury lawyer. An attorney can help you to understand your legal options, and what to expect during legal proceedings. A lawyer can also provide you with the right guidance and support to smoothly navigate the complex DUI evaluation.
An expert car accident injury lawyer can help you best present yourself during the interview and guide you on how to avoid mistakes that could complicate or lengthen your evaluation process.
Be sure to look for a lawyer with experience handling DUI cases so you get the best legal representation. We have an expert team of lawyers in our network to guide you through all the legal formalities and get you the best possible results, be it dropped charges or a lenient sentence. Contact LegalASAP today for a free DUI evaluation.