Having a few drinks for fun and then heading for the road is something that many people think nothing about. In fact, some people often take a drink with them in the car. While many people are never caught, the few that are may be quite surprised at what this may mean for them. Substance abuse evaluations and the ensuing actions can turn out to be very costly in terms of time and money.
Substance Abuse Evaluations
After your arrest and charge for a DUI or a DWI, you will most likely be sent to see a drug and alcohol counselor. It will also be required in some states if you have been :
- Convicted of possession of illegal drugs.
- Are underage and have possession of alcohol while you are operating a motor vehicle.
- Boating under the influence (BUI).
When you are required to have a substance abuse evaluation, you may be subjected to going through several types of tests, which may include a physical examination, psychological testing and possibly even psychiatric evaluation. Questionnaires will need to be filled out. There are different forms that may be used, depending on what state you are in, and you may have to fill out more than one. Oftentimes they are simply a one page form with multiple choice answers, but some may have about 130 questions (Georgia). The questions asked will involve whether or not you have had drug or alcohol problems in the past, the extent of the abuse and current usage, and if you have had treatment for them in the past.
After you have completed the form, the qualified substance abuse counselor will make an assessment and put you in a category that will range from something like social drinker to an addict. This will assign a level of risk to you which will determine what, if any, type of program you need to provide help and better control over your substance abuse problem.
This can involve a wide variety of programs, which may include educational programs, and possibly aftercare programs. The educational type programs may include certified programs, lectures given in the community, and self-help groups. Treatment may be performed on an :
- In-patient basis
- A partial in-patient basis
- As an out-patient
The Cost of Substance Abuse Programs
It is most likely that you will be required to pay for the evaluation test, and for the program. The costs will vary depending on whether it is the court, the probation department, or the various drug and substance abuse agencies giving them.
Before enrolling in a program, you will need to make sure that it has been approved by the state. Otherwise you may not be able to get your driver's license reinstated. States will often accept certificates of completion from a similar course in another state, as long as that program will also enable your driver's license to be reinstated.
Before a certificate of completion for the program is given, you need to be sure that you meet all requirements. This generally includes attendance, being on time, and having a minimum number of people in the group. Something as simple as being late may mean that you are not admitted into the class - and you will have to pay for another class in full. Some states will not accept a certificate from an online program.
The Overall Costs of a DUI
Apart from the costs of the program, you can be sure that if you are arrested for a DUI that you are going to be paying out a considerable amount of money. In some cases some of the costs may be eliminated by attending a substance abuse program, if it is a first offense and if there are no additional charges.
In some states, getting charged with a DUI can be very costly. The costs will vary, but by the time you calculate DUI lawyer and court costs, bail, probation fees, jail reimbursement fee, the substance abuse evaluation fee and education program costs, you are going to be paying many thousands of dollars. Then, add to that the cost of getting your driver's license reinstated, an ignition interlock, the loss of time from work and the increase in your insurance costs (which could be an additional $500-$2,000 annually for up to three years), you are talking about a lot of money.
Substance Abuse Penalties
States such as Kentucky require a 90-day alcohol and drug treatment program for a first DUI, and up to 30 days of community labor. Maryland can put you away for up to one year on your first DUI, and if there is a minor in the car, up to two years, but they separate DUI offenses from DWI's. Getting a DUI in Massachusetts is even costlier, where you can be charged between $500 to $5,000, and be put in jail for up to 2.5 years - on a first offense.