If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated in North Carolina, then chances are you will be required by the court to undergo an alcohol assessment. You may also need to take part in some kind of alcohol education classes and counseling.
What happens during an alcohol assessment and the education classes in North Carolina? Who has to take them and for how long? The answers to these questions vary on a case-by-case basis. Read on for a general idea of what you can expect from North Carolina alcohol assessments and education.
Levels of DWI Treatment and Education
In North Carolina, recommended treatment is a two-part process. First, there will be an alcohol assessment completed.
In the state, the DWI assessment is completed through answering a series of questions. Your response to these questions helps those treating you for substance abuse to understand what level of treatment you may need.
They will also base it on your history and your DWI charge or conviction. When they have the results, they will recommend that you attend alcohol and drug education traffic school and/or complete outpatient or inpatient alcohol treatment.
Your attorney can provide agencies that are licensed by the state to complete this type of assessment. It may be a good idea to complete this step before you are even convicted of a DWI in North Carolina. It shows the judge that you are proactive in getting help – not repeating the same mistakes that led you to a DWI in the first place.
DWI assessments last for six months. You must either:
- Have one completed in the six months before your court date, or
- Complete it and have a treatment plan in place within six months of your conviction
If you fail to obtain one in the six months following a DWI conviction, then you can face additional penalties by the court.
What Is Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School?
Most people who don’t have a prior history of DWIs and are first-time offenders will be required to complete Level 0.1, which is Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School. It’s considered an early intervention. It requires you to complete 16 hours of drug and alcohol prevention classes.
However, this will only be recommended in cases where:
- You were not identified in the assessment as having a substance abuse problem
- You have no prior DWI convictions
- You didn’t refuse to take a chemical test at the scene of your DWI
- Your blood alcohol level was less than 0.14 percent at the time of your arrest
- You meet the criteria for early interventions
What About Outpatient Treatment
If your assessment reveals that you have a substance abuse disorder but are not dependent or addicted, then outpatient treatment may be recommended. This level of service will require you to participate in outpatient services ranging from 20 to 89 hours over the course of your treatment, depending on the results of the assessment.
In general, this is a level of treatment available to those who:
- Had a blood alcohol content of more than 0.15 percent at the time of their DWI arrest
- Refused a chemical test
- Have a family history of substance abuse
- Have problems associated with the use of drugs or alcohol
Getting a DWI in North Carolina can end up being a blessing if it connects you to the help you need to combat substance abuse once and for all. Take your alcohol assessment and classes seriously, and you may find that they’re more valuable than you would have bargained.