We often get clients referred to us who are asked to undergo an evaluation related to a DUI/DWI offense. We thought we’d share a little about what that entails, so you can know what your clients may expect when they seek an evaluation from a private practice following a DUI.

Our evaluation involves a clinical interview with the person to get a sense of the event that led to their arrest. We’ll also ask questions about their background, history of substance use, and current use. We’ll look into any risk factors that literature tells us is a predictor of substance problems, as well as any resilience factors which may indicate substances may not be much of a problem in one’s life. The client should bring with them an official copy of their driving record from the DMV, and a copy of their recorded BAC.

We’ll then ask the client to undergo some psychological testing. This generally involves a look at their current psychological functioning, as well as some testing specifically focusing on their relationship to substances. In order to ensure we’re getting a clear and accurate picture of their usage pattern, the testing will involve clinical validity indices that parse out dishonest reporting.

The assessment results in recommendations that generally take two forms: (1) completing a substance abuse education class, i.e., Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS), and/or (2) completing a treatment program (usually outpatient). The state requires that evaluators always recommend one of these two forms of intervention following a DUI.


The criteria by which a person may be recommended for ADETS are:

  1. The results of the substance abuse assessment shows that the person does not have a substance abuse diagnosis,
  2. The person has never, in his or her life, had another DUI/DWI conviction anywhere,
  3. The person’s BAC was 0.14% or less, and
  4. The person did not refuse to submit to a chemical test.

Those clients who do not meet the criteria for ADETS must be referred to treatment.


There are four progressive levels of treatment, determined by the degree of diagnosis:

  1. Outpatient, Short Term: a minimum of 20 hours of treatment that must last over a period of at least 30 days.
  2. Outpatient, Longer Term: a minimum of 40 hours of treatment that must last over a period of at least 60 days.
  3. Day Treatment/Intensive Outpatient: must last for a minimum of 90 hours for a minimum of 90 days.
  4. Inpatient: composed of both an inpatient stay coupled with an Aftercare (Continuing Care) program, both of which must last for a period of at least 90 days.


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(We are open 9am-8pm M-F and 9am-5/7pm Saturdays; please feel free to call 919-572-0000 directly during those hours to schedule as well.)

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