DWI Assessment

North Carolina DWI law requires that everyone who is convicted of a DWI in this state be required to undergo a Substance Abuse Assessment – also known as a DWI Assessment – by a licensed provider in this state. If the person seeks to complete an assessment and treatment out of state, the person must ensure that the out-of-state provider comply with North Carolina’s requirements in providing the same level of quality treatment.

A DWI Assessment is important in three ways:

  1. To be eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege either during your Civil Revocation period or Post-Conviction.
  2. To comply with the conditions of probation upon conviction.
  3. To comply with DMV’s requirements in order to be re-licensed after the mandatory 1-year suspension.

The DWI assessment takes about an hour, but you should leave more time so that you can fill out pre-assessment paperwork. The assessment is basically an interview about your drug or alcohol consumption. The counselor will provide a recommendation as to the treatment you should undergo. You are free to take that assessment to any treatment agency for completion of your treatment. In other words, you do not need to complete your treatment at the same facility where you got your assessment.

However, in order to qualify for your pre-conviction Limited Driving Privilege during the initial 30 day suspension, you will need to enroll in a treatment program and provide proof to the court that you have “pre-enrolled” or begun treatment.

The DWI Assessment usually results in a recommendation of been the lowest level of treatment – the 16-hour Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) – and 40 hours of group counseling. In some cases, where the person indicates a more serious drug or alcohol problem, the recommendation may be for 60 or more hours of out-patient treatment or, in rare circumstances, in-patient treatment.

The lowest level of treatment ADETS cannot be given to someone who has had a prior DWI within the last 7 years, nor can it be given to someone who registers a .15 or above on the breath or blood analysis.

A DWI Assessment is valid for 6-months. If treatment is not begun within that six-month window, the person will need to get re-assessed. A reassessment could result in a higher or lower treatment recommendation.

Since many Wake County DWI cases last longer than six months, it may make sense to begin your treatment even before your case is resolved both to be eligible for a mitigating factor if you are sentenced by a judge and so that the DWI assessment doesn’t go out-of-date. Talk to your Raleigh DWI lawyer about this matter.

For a list of Wake County DWI Treatment Centers, visit www.chetson.com/treatment.

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Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.