Have you been charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) in North Carolina and are facing a lengthy court process? One of the first things you want to do is schedule to complete a DWI Substance Abuse Assessment.
When a person’s license is revoked for certain offenses involving impaired driving, the person must, before his or her license may be restored, obtain a substance abuse assessment and complete the treatment or education recommended based on that assessment. G.S. 20-17.6. This requirement applies when a person’s license is revoked upon conviction of any of the following offenses:
driving while impaired pursuant to G.S. 20-138.1,commercial driving while impaired pursuant to G.S. 20-138.2,
driving while less than 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs in violation of G.S. 20-138.3,
driving a school bus, school activity bus, or child care vehicle after consuming alcohol under G.S. 20-138.2B, or
a second or subsequent conviction of driving a commercial motor vehicle after consuming alcohol under G.S. 20-138.2A.
An assessment is required by the courts for anyone who is convicted of Driving While Impaired in the state of North Carolina. You are not eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege without a DWI Assessment. DWI and Substance Abuse assessments and groups can only be conducted by facilities licensed by the state of North Carolina to meet requirements to restore your drivers license.
Having an assessment completed early on in the court process will help if you are later convicted and face sentencing. Assessments and completing the recommended treatment are considered mitigating factors during sentencing.
Completing an assessment quickly will help to reduce the time you are not allowed to drive during your civil revocation period.
What to Expect
A DWI Substance Abuse Assessment is an alcohol abuse and drug abuse assessment consisting of an interview by a Licensed or Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and a structured assessment questionnaire to determine if a person has a problem with alcohol or drugs.
The DWI assessment and related paperwork take approximately one and a half hours. The fee for the assessment is set by the state at $100. Some insurances will help cover the cost of of an assessment and for tribal members, there are programs that will allow you to receive an assessment at no charge.
Prior to attending your scheduled assessment, you will need a copy of your lifetime driving record and the printout of your breath/blood test during your DWI arrest.
One you have completed the class, DMV must receive a certificate of completion before it may restore the person’s driver’s license; indeed, the revocation period is extended until it does. G.S. 20-17.6(b). And for defendants sentenced to probation under G.S. 20-179, a substance abuse assessment and completion of recommended education or treatment must be required as a condition of probation. G.S. 20-179(g),(h), (i), (j), (k).
You can attend any DWI approved agency of your choice. For a list of providers listed on the NC Health and Human Services Database, go here. If you need assistance finding an approved assessment location or have additional questions about the process, contact NC DWI Services at (919) 733-0566.
If you have been charged with a DWI, call our office today at 828-631-2500 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case.