Maryland DUI Substance Abuse Evaluations
A DUI can be an overwhelming experience to handle alone, especially if it is your first offense. A skilled DUI lawyer could attempt to mitigate the severity of the charges and consequences that you face. One of the ways to do so is by ordering Maryland DUI substance abuse evaluations. A substance abuse evaluation determines whether this behavior was a one off occurrence or indicative of deeper issues, like a dependency on substances. That information could help determine whether something like rehabilitation might be more helpful than incarceration. To learn more, speak with a capable attorney that could fight for a positive outcome for you.
What is Involved in a Substance Abuse Evaluation in Maryland?
During Maryland DUI substance abuse evaluations, each evaluator looks at the DAST (“Drug Abuse Screening Test”) Scoring System in a Substance Abuse Evaluation. There are certain evaluation materials that they use to better evaluate it in more depth. This is done on a one-on-one basis. They evaluator usually gets a good past narrative out of that which gives one a very comprehensive view of an individual. This is not just asking:
- How often do they drink
- Where do they drink
- How many days a week do they drink
- Do they drink with anyone or alone
- Do they drink to cope with stress
Those are generic questions. They want someone who gets good depth and background, family history. If there is a history of addiction in the family, they will want to address that as well.
If the defendant has a good provider, they will receive a very comprehensive review. When it comes time to go to court with that assessment and they can show the progress that they completed; a comprehensive course; the judge will be able to get to know them very quickly. Not only would they get to know them, but they will be able to trust that what they give them is something that they can use for probation. They want all that information in there. Why walk into court with a social drinker evaluation and course completion when there is a deeper problem, and then not address it only to have the client get stopped again for a second DUI.
Who Recommends and Administers These Evaluations?
Generally, an experienced lawyer would recommend that someone undergoes an assessment. Other than that, it would be the judge who orders any further education or assessment or has one performed once they are on parole or probation. That same assessment, evaluation, and education can be done through probation.
Maryland DUI substance abuse evaluations have to be certified and licensed by the Maryland Department of Health. There are a number of providers and certainly, an attorney can give them a list. They should be reputable and known by the courts with a solid assessment that gives a good narrative and background of the individual so that a judge can trust what is there. Most assessments are private. Depending on the county, there are public assessments that can be done as well.
Purpose of Substance Abuse Evaluations
The intended purpose of Maryland DUI substance abuse evaluations is to put the accused on a kind of spectrum by determining whether:
- This is just a social mistake
- This is something a little bit more involved
- Whether they are a troubled drinker or not
- Whether they have addiction issues or not
Regardless of where they are on the spectrum, if the answer is more than sufficient, that is fantastic. They want to know what type of course would be most beneficial to them. To put them in a simple 12-hour A&D (“Alcohol and Drug”) Program when they have more pressing issues that may need to be addressed does not do any good; it is just a band aid.
If it does not help, it does not do anything further to assist them and they are just wasting their time. They do not need to impress the judge at all; they need to show the judge their reliability, that they are doing everything they can to make sure that they do not repeat the same conduct. As the state can prove that they did something wrong, they want to show the reliability of the individual to be trusted. A judge does not have to worry if it will happen again.
Consequences of an Evaluation That Indicates Substance Abuse
If it can be assessed that there is a pattern of substance abuse, there is certainly a bit more involved treatment needed. They may want to also get someone involved who can look at it on a mental health aspect. Perhaps there is something from stress or life that is really impeding on what is going on and it is not so much that they had to drink; it is other factors. Maybe they are relying on having something to drink to get them away or relieve their stress.
That is important if they really think about doing a good assessment with a reputable company. They want to get something out of it if they are paying for it, and they do not want to be wasting their time or money. At the end of the day, the only thing that they should be looking for is the benefit, not the cost. If they are paying for it, what do they get. With the benefit of doing it right, perhaps that means that there will not be any issues down the line.
Consequences of an Evaluation That Indicates Addictive Behavior
There are no consequences of an addictive behavior evaluation. A determination will need to be made as to the proper treatment:
- A 12-hour A&D (“Alcohol and Drug”) program
- A 26-week A&D program
- A 48-week A&D program
- A course that has aftercare
- Is more substantive aftercare and evaluation necessary
- Should they be doing more AA meetings or just once a week
Value of a Maryland DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is imperative that you work with a determined DUI attorney. They could have you undergo Maryland DUI substance abuse evaluations and help determine what course of treatment might be best for you. Most importantly, an experienced attorney can fight to achieve a positive outcome for you.