As part of your sentencing for a drug or alcohol related charge, the court may order you to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation or assessment, along with other penalties. If your charge involved driving, you may also be required to get evaluated to have your license reinstated. You can also be ordered to get an evaluation as part of a family law matter, like an adoption or custody case. Drug and alcohol evaluations assess your current state and identify any potentially concerning factors about your rehabilitation as a drug or alcohol offender. California takes a rehabilitative approach to drug and alcohol offence sentencing. Evaluations and assessments, in part, demonstrate your rehabilitation to those who need assurance of that. For first-time DUI offenders in California, these are also called DUI First Offender Programs. These programs include educational classes including in-class lectures and at home work, as well as group sessions where you discuss your experiences and problems with drugs or alcohol. Their other role is to evaluate your given drug or alcohol problem through monitoring your progress, interviews and feedback. There is also a personal interview component in each program, which serves as your one on one drug and alcohol evaluation. During this interview, your progress on working through your problem will be evaluated. During a three-month or six-month first time DUI offender program, the interviews are usually scheduled at the beginning of the program, at the middle of the program and at the end. For DUI offender programs lasting longer than six months, the personal alcohol evaluation interviews will be every other week.
First time offender programs last either three or six months, dependent upon what your BAC level was. With your second DUI, the program will last 18 months and with your third or subsequent DUI, the program will last 30 months. Each program has a counseling component, which focuses on learning about your drug or alcohol problem or problem behaviors, evaluating why you developed them and finding ways to work through these problems. The overall goal is to have you become aware of the problems that caused you to break the law and find ways to prevent you from doing that in the future. Unfortunately, even though these programs are intensive, drug and alcohol problems often cannot be solved within a few months so that is why the programs for subsequent offenders are progressively longer. If you were charged with a DUI out of California, you may be required to complete a separate drug and alcohol evaluation by a counselor, sometimes prior to enrolling in your designated DUI offender program. These evaluations are more intensive than the personal evaluation interviews during the DUI offender programs as they seek to assess your problem all at once rather than assessing your progress through a program. The offender pays the costs of an evaluative program or evaluation session with a counselor. Some private counselors may operate on a sliding scale basis for these clients so you may have to call and check around. The required DUI offender programs are required as part of your sentencing and they can be expensive given the length of the program. You may qualify for a reduced rate for these classes based on income. Contact your local county court to determine which kind of program will satisfy the requirements of your sentencing, information on reduced fee plans and for contacts on where to enroll. You can also find county-specific resources for drug and alcohol evaluations and programs online. However, online DUI offender programs are not recognized by the state of California and thus will not satisfy your sentencing requirements. They need to be taken with a state-certified provider. A drug or alcohol related charge comes with many consequences. As a drug or alcohol offender, completing a drug and alcohol evaluation may be a part of your sentencing and will help rehabilitate you after your conviction.
Have you been ordered to go through a drug and alcohol evaluation? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Experienced in DUI and drug laws, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you take the right steps towards completing the requirements of your sentencing. Call our offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.