DWI Alcohol Assessment in North Carolina
The sentence for a DWI conviction in North Carolina can vary greatly from case to case; however, there is always a requirement that you get an alcohol/drug assessment and completed the recommended treatment. In addition to this being a required outcome of any sentence, if you get the assessment done before sentencing, the mere fact that you have gotten the assessment done is a mitigating factor that could help reduce the sentence. Some courts will grant a second mitigating factor if you have also finished the recommend treatment, but in either case, you will not be able to have your license reinstated the following year until you complete the alcohol treatment which was recommended by the assessing agency.
The requirement is really a two-part process, starting with the actual alcohol assessment. After completing the assessment, you will then be required to complete the recommended treatment plan. Your attorney will refer you to an agency that is licensed as a North Carolina DWI services provider so you can first get your assessment. There are several documents that you need to bring to the assessment, including a complete driving record, your DWI citation and confirmation of your BAC at the time of your arrest. If you do not have these, contact our Firm and we can assist our clients in getting these documents.
The DWI assessment consists of a series of questions designed to help the substance abuse professionals determine what treatment plan is appropriate. Based on the results of the assessment, you will be required to attend either alcohol drug education traffic school (ADETS), short-term outpatient treatment, long-term outpatient treatment, day treatment or inpatient/residential treatment.
The treatment must be started within 6 months of the assessment or the health regulations will require you to get another assessment. We recommend that you complete the treatment as swiftly as is practical after sentencing. Upon completion of all recommended treatment, the assessing agency will then send a “Form 508” into the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. It sometimes takes the DMV months to process this form, and until it is fully logged at the DMV you will not be able to get your license restored. Don’t put this off it the last minute.
The DWI assessment is $100. If you are sent to complete the 16-hour ADETS class, the cost is currently approximately $160. If you are referred to a treatment program, the costs vary but could range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. An inpatient/residential treatment is very expensive, but can sometimes be offset by health insurance if you have coverage.
You have six months from the date of your DWI alcohol assessment to start the recommended treatment program or classes. Your attorney may also recommend that you complete the alcohol assessment in advance of possible sentencing as a proactive measure to show the court that you are serious about your pending charges.