Is an Alcohol Assessment Required for My DUI?

Upon being charged with a Driving Under the Influence case, an alcohol evaluation could be required by the Court. Sometimes, as part of a suspended sentencing arrangement or condition of probation, a judge may order DUI offenders to attend programs to educate them about alcohol dependency and the consequences of DUI.

Alcohol assessments are usually conducted before a trial or a plea hearing but are presented to the Court during sentencing. Both state DUI criminal courts and the state Department of Licensing can order a DUI offender to attend alcohol education classes or treatment programs, the results of which are taken into consideration in final sentencing. The Department of Licensing could also require these evaluations in order to ensure that a defendants driving privilege is reinstated.

Each state has their own requirements in regards to an alcohol assessment but in the majority of the DUI cases around the country, an alcohol assessment is required. Of the states that require mandatory DUI prevention programs, 60 percent of those states require both alcohol education and treatment.

There are different levels of alcohol education and treatment programs with varying degrees for length of treatment and criteria, depending on the state. Most states, for example, allow minors under the age of 21 and DUI first-offenders to undergo “Level I” alcohol education courses — typically consisting of a few hours of education about the effects of alcohol. In Washington state, this is known as “NSP” or no significant problem. If a defendant is diagnosed as an NSP, they are required to attend an 8 hour Alcohol Drug Information School course and a 2 hour DUI Victims Panel class.


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