DWI Assessment and Time
– Criminal Defense lawyer
We always tell our clients that even before a conviction, it is crucial to get a DWI Assessment
completed as soon as possible. In NC, a DWI assessment is required prior to receiving a Limited
Driving Privilege; it is always required to receive the privilege 10 days into the 30 day civil
revocation, which occurs after the initial charge. Learn more about MDWI Assessment
A DWI Assessment is considered a Mitigating Factor during your trial and can reduce the level
of punishment, possibly helping avoid active jail time if a judge sees fit.
Program Placement Criteria
These placement requirements set by the NC DHHS DWI Services and must be followed by
licensed DWI providers in the State of NC.
North Carolina law dictates that there are five placement levels for DWI substance abuse
treatment and education. There are a minimum number of contact hours, time in group or
class, and minimum lengths of time a person must be involved for DWI and <21 driving after
State of NC rules require that a Substance Abuse assessment is valid for only 6 months.
Counseling or ADETS must be started within 6 months from the date of the assessment or a
new assessment is required by the State.
Level I – DWI Education (Alcohol & Drug Education Traffic School):
- First DUI/DWI conviction (Total lifetime).
- Arrest BAC of .14 or less.
- Did not refuse breath test.
- Has no substance use disorder diagnosis as determined by ASAM (American Society of
- Addictions Medicine) upon completion of comprehensive alcohol and drug use evaluation.
- Must be a minimum of sixteen contact hours completed in no less than 5 sessions.
Level II – DWI Short-term Treatment:
- More than 1 DUI/DWI lifetime.
- Refused breath test.
- BAC of .15 or greater.
- DSM-V diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder – Mild.
- Meets Level I ASAM (American Society of Addictions Medicine) program placement criteria.
- A minimum of 20 but less than 40 contact hours lasting a minimum of 30 days.
Level III – Longer Term Treatment:
- Meets criteria for DSM-V Substance Use Moderate Diagnosis.
- Meets Level I ASAM program placement criteria.
- Minimum of 40 but less than 90 contact hours, minimum of 60 days duration.
Level IV-Intensive Outpatient Treatment:
- DSM-IV diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder, moderate to severe.
- Meets Level II ASAM program placement criteria.
- A minimum of 90 contact hours with a minimum duration of 90 days.
- According to Health Insurance, the State of NC, the American Society of Addiction Medicine,
and NC DWI Services, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) requires groups to be scheduled
at least 3 sessions, 3 hours each for a total of 9 hours per week in treatment. This program may
be preceded by a brief inpatient stay for detoxification or stabilization of a medical or
Level V-Inpatient/Residential Treatment:
DSM-V diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder, Severe:
Upon discharge from inpatient treatment, a person is required by the State of NC to enroll in an
approved continuing care or outpatient program to meet the 90-day time frame. There should
not be any significant period of time between inpatient or residential treatment and beginning
the 90 day follow up. There should also be no resumption of alcohol or drug use, even in small
amounts prior to the 90 day follow up. If there is more than a couple of weeks between
residential treatment and beginning the follow-up or there has been any substance use, the
DWI client will likely have to begin a new treatment program.
Failure to follow the ASAM criteria can result in a facility’s losing its licenses and accreditation
and jeopardizes payments by private insurers.