Recently Bobby Brown, former husband of the late Whitney Houston, checked into rehab as part of a plea deal concerning his DUI arrest. While this may be news as a result of Bobby Brown’s celebrity status, this is actually a very common thing for individuals facing DUI charges.
More often than not Courts in Washington State will order individuals convicted of DUI to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. In fact, this sentencing condition is listed in the DUI sentencing grid that is available on the Washington State Courts website.
During the evaluation session, the individual must answer many questions concerning their alcohol consumption, drug use, history of abuse, criminal history, and other questions related to drugs and alcohol. The individual may also be required to submit a urine sample. Questions that may be asked may include the following:
When did you have your first drink?
Do you smoke?
Have you ever used drugs?
Have drugs or alcohol had an impact on your relationships?
Have drugs or alcohol use resulted in your arrest in the past?
Do you personally feel that you have a drinking problem?
Do you take any prescribed medications? If yes, have you ever abused or taken an amount beyond the prescribed amount?
Do you have any mental problems?
Do you have relationships or do you associate with others who drink or use drugs heavily?
When was your last drink?
How often do you drink?
Have you ever consumed so much that when you wake up in the morning you do not remember events from the previous evening?
Do you ever drink in the morning in order to ease shaking, sweating, or other symptoms of alcohol withdraw?
To you have tuberculosis?
Any health issues? Any health issues as a result of drug or alcohol use?
Do you ever continue to use drugs or alcohol despite the fact that you know it is having a negative impact on your health.
And so on… (as Kurt Vonnegut would say in Breakfast of Champions).
The individual must always be honest with the treatment provider. If the treatment provider obtains information from “collateral sources” that reveal the individual was untruthful, then the evaluation will be void. In fact, most treatment providers require the individual to sign a form, waiver, or contact that states that if the individual is untruthful, the evaluation and its results are void.
Following the alcohol and drug evaluation–the treatment provider will assess the individual generally in one of three ways. The individual may be deemed to be “no significant problem” or “NSP.” If an individual is determined to be NSP, then the treatment center will typically recommend alcohol and drug information school or no treatment at all. Alcohol and Drug Information School (ADIS) typically requires the individual to attend educational type sessions with the treatment provider for a total of eight hours. During ADIS, the treatment provider or counselor, will educate the individual on the effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body, health risks associate with use and abuse, and will attempt to provide the individual with coping mechanisms or skills that encourage moderate consumption or abstinence.
Aside from NSP, other categories that an individual may be assessed as may include either “abuser” or “dependant.” An abuser is generally someone who “binge drinks” or gets drunk oftentimes–perhaps only on weekends, but is not someone who is a bona-fide alcoholic. The treatment provider may recommend that an abuser undergo more educational group sessions than one who is NSP. Such group sessions may be recommended for months. Other times an abuser may be required to undergo intensive outpatient treatment. One who is deemed to be a “dependant” is basically a full blown alcoholic–someone who cannot function without alcohol and suffers from symptoms of withdraw. When an individual is deemed to be dependant the treatment provider may recommended intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment–and perhaps detox therapy.
Overall, Bobby Brown’s situation is by no means irregular.
A DUI conviction or arrest oftentimes results in the sentencing court ordering the individual to complete treatment recommended by the treatment agency. Individuals who truly do not have any alcohol or drug problems may get stuck in treatment; perhaps for months or longer. This is because treatment providers and counselors are human…and humans make mistakes. Moreover, treatment providers are businesses too…and some allow their incentive to generate profits overcome what is best for the individual being assessed. However, many treatment providers are truthful, fair, professional, and competent. Therefore it is important to have an attorney who will not only aggressively fight against DUI charges and who understands the evaluation process. It is critical to get an attorney who knows what treatment centers are reputable, professional, and trustworthy.
Platt & Buescher is dedicated to providing individuals with advice and guidance beyond the courtroom. The DUI attorneys at Platt & Buescher understand the evaluation process and will educate those facing DUI charges. Contact our office today to discuss the drinking and driving accusations that you are facing.