The importance of getting an alcohol and drug assessment early in a DUI case
So what is an alcohol and drug assessment. It involves having the client meet with a counselor for roughly an hour and a half and be interviewed to determine whether they suffer from alcohol and or drug abuse or dependence. At the conclusion of the interview the counselor will write up a report and state whether the client has any alcohol and or drug issues and whether or not the would benefit from treatment. As a Seattle DUI Attorney having a client get this assessment done early on in the DUI process will greatly benefit them for a number of reasons.
First a Judge will require the client to get an assessment done at the time of sentencing whether it is to the DUI as charged or to some lesser offense. In other words unless the DUI charge gets completely dismissed or reduced to a traffic infraction this is mandatory. It is my opinion since the client will be required to do it anyway, it’s best to get it done with and have one less thing to worry about. Besides it looks good in the eyes of the Judge when a defendant does things before they are imposed by the Court.
Secondly since it will be required the client might as well know what they are agreeing to. As I stated above at the time of sentencing the Judge will require the client get this assessment done. If it’s not done prior to the sentencing then the client will just be agreeing to do whatever it says without knowing what it is. In other words if the client waits until after sentencing to get the assessment done, and it comes back they suffer from alcohol dependence and requires 2 years worth of treatment that is going to cost $5000 than that is something they probably would have liked to know when they were deciding whether to take a plea deal which was contingent on them agreeing to do the assessment and any follow up treatment.
Lastly the assessment can be used as a negotiation tool with the Prosecution. In my experience as a Seattle DUI Lawyer when the Prosecutor is on the fence about whether or not to offer a reduction in charges one of the factors they will consider is whether or not it’s likely the Defendant will get in trouble again. If the Attorney can provide an assessment saying the Defendant doesn’t have any substance abuse issues, and they are not likely to reoffend, and this Seattle DUI arrest was out of character than that is something that may sway the Prosecutor from one side of the fence to the other side.