What is an alcohol and drug evaluation in a DUI case?

If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI then undoubtedly you have probably heard of a alcohol and drug evaluation.  Most likely you have heard about it either from someone who has gone through that process before or from a DUI Attorney and how important it is for you to get it.  So what is an alcohol and drug evaluation and what happens takes place at it?

To put it simply an alcohol and drug evaluation is exactly how it sounds.  It is an evaluation that is done by a State certified treatment agency to determine whether there are any substance abuse or dependence issues.

So how does the evaluation work?  Well it is pretty basic.  First you contact a treatment provider or counselor to schedule the evaluation.  Most Seattle DUI Attorneys have the specific places they prefer so make sure to ask your attorney if you have retained one and where they recommend you go.

Once you show up for your appointment you will be asked to provide a urinalysis sample.  A word of advice it is always better if it comes back negative for all substances.  And yes that includes marijuana even though it is legal now in Washington State.

After the urinalysis the interview portion of the evaluation will take place.  This has to be done in person face to face with the counselor.  During the interview portion the counselor will ask some background questions about alcohol and/or drug usage.  When it began, how often, etc.  The counselor will also ask about family history of substance abuse or dependence.  After the background questions then the counselor will ask about the referring incident.  If you were arrested for a DUI or DUI related offense then this is what you would talk about.

Once the interview portion of the evaluation is done and before writing it.  The counselor will usually contact the DUI Attorney for additional information and to get the police report, breath test or blood test results, 5 year drivers abstract, and criminal history for review.

After the counselor has reviewed all the relevant documents and considered all the information before them they will write summary or diagnosis on whether there is insufficient evidence to document addiction, evidence of substance abuse, or evidence of substance dependence.  Depending on the outcome there will be a recommended level of follow up treatment ranging from a 1 day class to a 2 year alcohol and drug treatment program.

If you’re facing a DUI then it is of vital importance you get this evaluation done as soon as possible.  Not only will it help your case but it will also help you understand what causes substance abuse and/or dependence.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Attorney in Seattle.  He is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a boutique criminal defense in Seattle, WA focuses on DUI and DUI related offenses.