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    DWI Assessment

    Posted on August 13, 2012 by


    A DWI Substance Abuse Assessment is required of everyone who is convicted of Driving While Impaired in the state of North Carolina. You can not receive 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.

    The cost of all NC DWI Assessments is $100. The $100 fee is established by the Legislature of the State of NC. No agency in the state of NC is allowed by law to charge more or less than the lawful $100 fee. The full fee is to be collected at the time of the assessment.

    First Step Services, LLC is fully licensed by NC DWI Services and will assist you with your assessment in a professional, confidential and timely manner.  First Step will often complete an assessment the day you call to request an appointment.

    Why Get Your DWI Assessment Done as Soon as Possible?

    • In NC, a  DWI assessment is usually required prior to receiving a Limited Driving Privilege; it is always required to receive the privilege 10 days into the 30 day civil revocation.
    • Shorten the period of time you can’t drive during your “Civil Revocation.”
    • Complete the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles DWI Assessment and Education, Counseling and or treatment requirements.
    • A DWI Assessment is a Mitigating Factor during your trial and can reduce the level of punishment, possibly helping avoid active jail time.
    • Know in advance where you stand with your DWI Substance Abuse requirements.

    Don’t be mislead by mailed or other notices that say you must go to any particular agency for a DWI assessment.  You can choose ANY licensed NC DWI agency you like. The cost of a DWI assessment and ADETS is mandated to be exactly the same for every State approved DWI program in North Carolina.

    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. There are a few different assessment types that are used by different NC DWI programs.

    Possible outcomes of the DWI assessment are alcohol or drug dependence, alcohol or drug abuse, or no alcohol or drug “handicap.” The DWI assessment and related paperwork take approximately  one and a half hours.  If you have your DWI Assessment at First Step, we will bill your insurance for any counseling that may be required.

    Allow at least 90 minutes for the DWI assessment when you schedule your appointment. If you have your lifetime driving record (we can assist with that) and the printout of your breath/blood test, you can leave the assessment with all the paperwork you need for your attorney, court or the NC Division of Motor Vehicles.

    If you live in another state and received an NC DWI, First Step can help you with your assessment and classes or counseling without you having to return to North Carolina. With our help, you can meet all requirements by receiving services in the area in which you live.

    “I came to First Step like many other for a DWI. I was a nervous wreck my first day and was still in a very bad place after disappointing my family with my mistake. On that first night Phyllis said something that struck with me and likely always will. She said that one of the hardest things to do is to learn to forgive yourself. The guilt from the DWI has been overwhelming, but her words gave me a little peace because I realized that forgiving myself is something to strive for. I am not there yet but I am trying. Group did two other big things for me. It made look at hours I communicated with others (a big piece of dealing with stress) and it brought people into my life that I would never have known otherwise. Being a part of a large and diverse group of people will teach you a lot about yourself and put your “trouble” in perspective.” Anonymous

    These placement requirements set by the NC DHHS DWI Services and must be followed by every licensed DWI provider in the State of NC. 

    The DWI Assessment results will assign you to one of the following levels of group or class.

    There are five placement levels for DWI substance abuse treatment in North Carolina. There are a minimum number of contact hours, time in group or class, and minimum lengths of time a person must be involved. These are now codified into a new section 122C-142.1 of the General Statutes: “Substance abuse services for those convicted of driving while impaired, or driving after drinking by person under 21.”

    State Rules require that a Substance Abuse assessment is valid for only 6 months. Treatment or ADETS must be started prior to 6 months from the date of the assessment or a whole new assessment will be required at a full cost of $100.

    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 abuse diagnosis as determined by a thorough 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-IV diagnosis of Substance Abuse.
    • 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.
    • Meets criteria for DSM-IV Substance Dependence 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 Dependence, 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 psychiatric condition. Level V-Inpatient/Residential Treatment:
    • DSM-IV diagnosis of Substance Dependence, severe:   Meets Level III or IV program placement criteria.
    • Upon discharge from inpatient treatment, a person has 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.

    “I was brought here by a DWI that happened 02/20/15. My initial impression of group was positive and I mostly enjoyed group activities. The counselors were good and Kim was excellent. I plan on doing After Care to continue my Treatment. My Rating is 4 Stars out of 5!” Anonymous Garner Client

    N. C. law allows up to 15 days credit for inpatient treatment in place of mandatory active sentence. However, an inpatient treatment facility can admit a person to inpatient treatment, ONLY, if that person meets the ASAM criteria for this level of treatment. This is true, even if the person wants to pay for this in full out of his own pocket.

    Failure to follow the ASAM criteria can result in a facility’s losing its licenses and accreditation and puts in jeopardy payments by private insurers. Admission to inpatient treatment is based solely on medical or psychiatric necessity, not on a legal requirement or personal preference! (From the DHHS DWI Services. ASAM refers to the criteria established by the American Society of Addictive Medicine.

    What we need from you to complete the DWI assessment:

    • A copy of your full, lifetime driving record from the DMV. The North Carolina Certified Driving Record costs $11.00. It must be signed or stamped by the NC  DMV. If you can’t get one, First Step will order one online for you while you are at our office. If we can’t get it that way, we will go to the DMV for you.
    • Verification of your Breathalyzer or blood test reading. You will probably have this with your ticket. This can also be obtained from your attorney, the Clerk of Court or possibly from the North Carolina DMV.
    • Fee payment of $100 for the assessment in cash or money order. If writing a check, you will have to wait 10 days for the check to clear to receive results.
    • Come to the assessment alcohol and drug free. If you are “high” or have alcohol on  your breath, you will be turned away and will be charged for the time the counselor reserved for your assessment.

    A NC DWI Substance Abuse Assessment is required by law for all those convicted of DWI in North Carolina. Getting a DWI assessment prior to court is a mitigating factor at the trial and could lessen the level of punishment you receive.

    Education or substance abuse treatment is required of everyone convicted of Driving Wile Impaired by the State of NC. Depending on the level recommended by the assessment, classes or treatment may last from 1 week to 90 days or more.

    If you have your DWI Assessment at First Step, we will bill your insurance for any counseling that may be required, saving you money. Your cost for counseling at First Step will be lower than at agencies that are not in network with insurance.

    Enrolling in the recommended treatment before court is a an advantage at the trial. Many attorneys are now recommending that you enroll at the time of your assessment. Consult your attorney for advice on this.

    The state of NC requires that all DWI providers charge $100 for the DWI assessment. First Step charges no administrative fees or other charges of any type except for out of state transfers.

    To schedule your appointment in Raleigh, call (919) 833-8899; Cary (919) 651-8349;  Garner (919) 329-9400; Durham (919) 419-0229. Insurance may be used to assist with paying for DWI counseling, treatment, or groups. Before the results of your assessment can be finalized, you will need to bring in written proof of your Breathalyzer reading (BAC) if you were arrested for DWI. You can also obtain a copy from the clerk’s office or have your attorney fax verification to us.

    Before the results of your assessment can be finalized, we are required to have written proof of your Breathalyzer reading (BAC) or proof of refusal (usually on driving record) if you were arrested for DWI. You can also obtain a copy of the breathalyzer or blood test from the clerk’s office or have your attorney fax verification to us.

    NC DWI law requires a certified copy of your driving record be reviewed at the DWI assessment. If you have a North Carolina driver’s license, this can be obtained in room 108 at the DMV located at 1100 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh. First Step staff will assist you with obtaining your NC driving record if you need that service.

    DWI Assessment “508s”  are completed online at First Step Services, speeding up the turn around time.

    Every client who successfully completes any level of counseling groups, and is remaining abstinent, is welcome to continue attending aftercare for as long as he or she would like to attend.

    Take that First Step… call us today – Raleigh: 919-833-8899; Garner (919) 329-9400; Cary (919) 651-8349; Durham (919) 419-0229

    “What brought me to First Step/treatment was a DWI. At first, I was super nervous but that feeling was immediately gone after seeing how nice everyone was. Tonya was welcoming and easy to open up to. I learned a lot about the effects of alcohol and my drinking. The treatment helped me realize that I don’t have to drink to have a good time socially, and my friends know not to nudge me if I don’t want to drink. The group that affected me the most was [victim impact panel] hearing their personal stories really hit home and will forever be in my mind. If I do choose to go out and drink with my friends, I will leave my car keys at home.” Anonymous

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