Mandatory Alcohol Assessment and Treatment Laws

alcohol-assessment-treatmentMandatory alcohol assessment and treatment laws require convicted DUI/DWI offenders to undergo an assessment of alcohol abuse problems and, if necessary, participate in a treatment program. Assessment and/or treatment can be ordered by the Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the Court.

Sometimes in between the assessment and treatment, offenders are sent to Alcohol Education Classes which cover the dangers of impaired driving to attendees. These mandatory classes are often referred to as DUI School or Drunk Driving School.

Offenders enrolled in mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment can expect to receive services such as an evaluation of drinking behaviors, a determination of the alcohol abuse level, ways to manage alcohol abuse, techniques on how to limit and/or abstain from drinking and/or psychological and physical evaluations.

According to statistics:

  • One-third of all DUI arrests are of drivers who have had previous DUIs.
  • Studies in Maryland and North Carolina revealed that 70 percent of the offenders assessed had an alcohol and/or drug abuse problem.
  • Even those who have had serious injuries from drunk driving are unlikely to change—over half of crash survivors who were drinking drivers said one year after their crash that they had driven impaired at least once.

Mandatory assessment and treatment for DUI offenders address substance abuse problems. A comprehensive program of education, treatment, and some form of follow-up monitoring (e.g., supervised probation) has been shown to decrease repeat offenses by seven to nine percent.

There are mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment laws in 37 states. In addition to Washington D.C., the following states do not currently have mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment laws for all DUI offenders: Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas.  Even in states where assessment and treatment are not required, sometimes there are reduced fines, jail times, license suspensions and/or probation for those offenders who voluntarily undergo assessment and/or treatment.

For more information on the alcohol assessment and treatment programs in your state, contact an attorney.