Heavy drinking is a serious problem in the United States, and the numbers are only going up.
In this country alone, tens of thousands of people die every year as a result of alcohol-impaired drivers according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s around 30 deaths every day, or one death every 45 minutes.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense that can result in multiple legal consequences. Depending on the severity of the DUI, an individual may be required to pay a fine or spend an extended amount of time in jail.
After being convicted of a DUI, an individual must undergo an evaluation process referred to as a DUI assessment. This evaluation serves a variety of purposes, including determining how severe the person’s alcohol use is and how likely they are to cause future alcohol-related problems.
We’re going to walk you through exactly what a DUI assessment is, what happens during these assessments and what you can expect to happen afterward.
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” It refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of or while actively consuming drugs or alcohol, operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit or both.
Getting a DUI can result in a variety of legal consequences, including fines, license suspension, community service and short or long-term jail time.
You might be more familiar with the phrase DWI, “driving while intoxicated,” or recently heard it in passing and wondered if it’s the same thing — it is. Driving while under the influence and driving while intoxicated are legally treated the same, but whether or not one term is used over the other will depend on where you live.
When an individual is charged with a DUI, they are subject to a DUI assessment.
What is a DUI assessment?
A DUI assessment is an interview-like evaluation process that’s conducted with a person after they’ve been convicted of a DUI. The purpose of this assessment is to determine the severity of the person’s alcohol use, their potential for causing future DUI incidents and clarify what the most productive and just consequences are for them in the present.
During a DUI assessment, a trained professional (usually a therapist or counselor) will initiate an open and honest conversation with the person about their drinking history and current drinking habits. Among other things, this conversation will include discussing any prior DUI incidents.
On occasion, the therapist may request the individual engage in a few tests so that they can more clearly understand the person’s relationship with alcohol and more concretely determine the person’s level of alcohol dependence or addiction.
What happens after a DUI assessment?
After a DUI assessment has been conducted, the therapist will typically provide the revelations and test results to either the court, probation officer, licensing agency or multiple recipients.
Depending on what the assessment reveals, the individual may or may not meet the criteria to be formally diagnosed with a substance use disorder or addiction. If this is the case, they will likely be strongly encouraged to enroll in some sort of treatment program.
If the substance use is not overly heavy, the person might be advised to join group counseling or a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Additionally, engaging in certain classes or educational programs may be recommended or mandatory in order to enforce the severity of drinking while under the influence.
Speak with an advisor today
If you think you or a loved one may have an alcohol use disorder and you aren’t sure what to do next, send us a message today. Wherever you’re at in your journey, we’re here to help.
Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling offers personal counseling services and substance use treatment to adolescents and adults struggling with a substance use disorder. Our full-spectrum services are designed to support and guide you and your family through the entire treatment process.
Both our partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are effective treatment options for individuals who are seeking ongoing support in their recovery journey. We also offer dual-diagnosis treatment to those suffering from co-occurring mental health issues in addition to addiction.
To learn more about our programs and find out if one is a good fit for your recovery needs and goals, call us today to speak with one of our compassionate advisors.