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The importance of a chemical dependency evaluation following a Seattle DUI arrest

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Jul 16, 2012 | 2 Comments

In Washington state, anyone who is either convicted of a DUI or is charged with a DUI and has their case amended to a lesser offense is required to provide proof of an alcohol/drug evaluation to the court. This evaluation must be performed by a state-certified chemical dependecy evaluator. For a list of agencies in Washington who are classified as such, please click here.

There are several requirements of a chemical dependency evaluation. They include a review of the defendant's criminal history (to see if there are prior DUI or alcohol-related offenses), a urinalysys (to detect alcohol/drugs), the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) as well as an interview with the evaluator. Furthermore, there are other requirements as established by local court rule found here. There is a wide range of diagnosis, from the lowest level being an 8 hour alcohol/drug information school (commonly referred to as "ADIS") all the way up to a two year dependency treatment.

Following an arrest for suspicion of DUI, it is important for a person to immediately consult with an experienced DUI lawyer. Whenever I meet with someone who has recently been arrested for DUI, I go over in great detail what a chemical dependency evaluation entails. In most instances, I strongly recommend the person immediately schedule a chemical dependency evaluation. I firmly believe obtaining the evaluation shortly after the DUI arrest is very helpful in defending people accused of a Seattle area DUI charge.

There are many reasons for this opinion. Unless the government never files the DUI charge, or if the case is either dismissed or the accused is found not-guilty after trial, a person will need to have an evaluation completed when the case is resolved. When a person has completed the evaluation shortly after his or her arrest, their attorney can use that as a tool when negotiating the DUI charge with the prosecutor. This demonstrates how seriously the accused has taken their arrest. Furthermore, many judges are very impressed with a defendant's "proactive" steps if they completed the evaluation in a timely manner.

A chemical dependency evaluation should be done shortly after the arrest for DUI, but only after the accused has spoken with an experienced attorney. Also, it is a very good idea for an individual to get a referral to an agency. There are many state-certified agencies in Washington, and not all are equal. There are some agencies that are quick to label a person as needing more comprehensive treatment. While an evaluation may cost anywhere from $100-$250, extensive treatment can cost several thousand dollars.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


Louis Reply

Posted Jul 27, 2012 at 09:20:50

What happens if you don’t like or agree with the assessment of the evaluator?

Gregory Reply

Posted Jul 27, 2012 at 19:32:24

How often do they ask you to take a blood test for drugs when you go to an evaluation? If you smoked pot the week before your meeting, will it show up?

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