What is a DWI Assessment, and why do I need one?
According to North Carolina DWI laws, if you are convicted of Driving While Impaired you are required to obtain a clinical substance abuse assessment. The assessment determines whether you will be recommended to complete a substance abuse education class (ADETS) or a treatment program (usually outpatient). The assessment and subsequent recommendation requirements must be completed by an agency licensed to provide these services to DWI clients before NCDMV will reinstate your driver’s license at the end of your license revocation period.
Technically, you are not required to get an assessment or start recommended services until after a conviction. However, it could be to your advantage to voluntarily start the process as soon as possible after an arrest. In my experience, many attorneys recommend their clients proceed with the assessment process before going to court for the following reasons.
Upon a DWI arrest, your license is revoked for thirty days. However, after ten days, you may be eligible to request limited driving privileges for the remainder of the thirty day period, IF YOU HAVE OBTAINED YOUR DWI ASSESSMENT AND ENROLLED IN THE RECOMMENDED LEVEL OF SERVICE.
Upon conviction, your license will be revoked for at least one year and you may not be granted post-trial limited driving privileges unless and/or until you have obtained the assessment and enrolled in the recommended program.
In some cases, initiating the assessment-recommendation process before being ordered by the court to do so, can be a “mitigating” factor, and may lessen the judgment against you. At a minimum, it suggests to the court that you are dealing responsibly with the situation.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the results of a clinical assessment and recommendation cannot be used as evidence to prove guilt or innocence for the DWI charge. It is only used to provide a sentencing/intervention alternative (ADETS or treatment program) to the court if you are convicted of the charge on other grounds.
A North Carolina DWI Assessment is required of everyone who is convicted of Driving While Impaired in the State of North Carolina. You can not receive a Limited Driving Privilege without a DWI Assessment. DWI assessments and groups can only be conducted by facilities licensed by the State of North Carolina. Each of these licensed facilities must have a North Carolina DWI Provider Code. Getting an assessment and treatment by a substance abuse professional does not necessarily mean that professional has a North Carolina DWI Provider license.
Blue Ridge Counseling is fully licensed by the State and will assist you with your assessment in a professional, confidential and timely manner. Blue Ridge will often complete an assessment the week you call to request an appointment.
Why Get Your DWI Assessment Done as Soon as Possible?
* A DWI assessment is required prior to receiving a Limited Driving Privilege.
* Shorten the period of time you can’t drive during your “Civil Revocation.”
* Complete the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles DWI Assessment and Treatment requirements.
* A DWI Assessment is a Mitigating Factor during your trial and can reduce the level of punishment, possibly helping avoid active jail time.
* Know up front where you stand with your DWI Substance Abuse requirements.
A DWI Assessment is an alcohol and drug abuse assessment consisting of a clinical interview and a structured DWI assessment questionnaire to determine if a person has a problem with alcohol or drugs. There are a few different assessment types that are used by different DWI programs.
Possible outcomes of the DWI assessment are substance use (mild, moderate or severe), or no substance use “handicap.” The DWI assessment and related paperwork take approximately one hour to one and a half hours.
As the result of your DWI assessment, you might be required to complete the Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS, now called Prime for Life) or a Short Term (20-39 hours) or Long Term (40-89 hours) Substance Abuse Treatment Program. You would be placed in one of these programs in accordance with guidelines issued by the N.C. Department of Human Services, which regulates DWI assessments and treatment.
Blue Ridge’s Short Term and Long Term Substance Abuse Treatment programs can be completed either individually or in groups. These groups meet both during the day and in the evenings. We will assist you in arranging a schedule that works best for you.
If finances are difficult, you can possibly work out a payment plan. If paying at group time, please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to process payment.
If you are on a payment plan, no completion letters or certificates will be issued until your fees are paid in full.
Don’t be fooled by mailed or other notices that say you must go to any particular agency for a DWI assessment. You can choose ANY licensed DWI agency you like.
To schedule a DWI assessment appointment you will need:
1. $100.00 cash or money order
2. Your blood alcohol content or breathalyzer results (this may be obtained from your attorney, the hospital, or the clerk of court in the county of arrest)
3. Your ticket or judgment (this may be obtained from your attorney or the clerk of court in the county of arrest)
4. Your complete division of motor vehicles driving record
If you have never had a driver’s license in the State of North Carolina, you will still need to write to DMV to obtain your customer number.
Please note that we will not be able to complete a DWI assessment appointment until all of the above has been provided.
Call us at Blue Ridge Counseling to make this difficult time in your life, as comfortable as possible, with our professional and fully confidential service. Let us put our years of human service experience to work for you.
Office: 336-677-3991 – Fax: 336-677-1359