Posted on August 13, 2012 by Henry Tarkington
Summer may be a time of increased use of alcohol and other substances. During the summer, people often put off their assessment & counseling. To encourage those who need group counseling to enter now, before more problems accumulate, there is no charge for the first group session. Begin group counseling before Labor Day and save the cost of the first group. No enrollment fees.
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.
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.
Possible outcomes of the DWI assessment are no alcohol or drug use disorder or mild, moderate or severe, alcohol and/or drug use disorder. 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 group 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.
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.
You can choose any licensed NC DWI agency you like. The cost of a DWI assessment and ADETS is mandated to be the same for every State approved DWI program in North Carolina.
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 Services because I was irresponsible and got a DWI. My initial impression was that group would be a breeze (we drew family structures that night) and that my counselors (one intern) were nice. I think the openness and judgment free atmosphere is great and helpful, allowing everyone to dig deep. Didn’t think I had a problem but group made me realize that I did. I learned that I didn’t needs substances to better my life, mood, or experiences! I learned that I am kind but unappreciated. I also learned that I take lot of things for granted. I’ve learned a lot in this group and glad it was now and not later.” Anonymous
These placement requirements set by the NC DHHS DWI Services and must be followed by licensed DWI providers 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 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 byASAM (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 psychiatric condition.
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.
“I came to First Step because I received a provisional DWI. I love group, I’ve learned a lot and have come out of group in a positive mindset. I’m glad I’ve been in here because it really opened my eyes and I’ve learned a lot such as triggers, peer pressure and coping skills. The most helpful aspect I’ve got so far is peer pressure because being so young I’ve been around it for years and will continue to deal with it as life goes on. For me I’ve learned that I got myself in this situation, I’m going to face it and deal with it myself. I will continue to positively influence people and I will continue to positively influence my peers. The treatment for me changed my aspect on how I should act in situations to do with alcohol. I’ve really enjoyed group and learned more than I expected.” Anonymous
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 diagnostic criteria for this level of treatment.
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 lifetime driving record from the DMV. It must be signed or stamped by the NC DMV. If you don’t have 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 may have to wait 10 days for the check to clear to receive results.
- Come to the assessment alcohol and drug free. Do not drink or use other substances before coming in.
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.
Enrolling in the recommended treatment before court is a an advantage at the trial. Many attorneys now recommend 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 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.
Clients who successfully complete a level of treatment, and are remaining abstinent, are welcome to continue attending aftercare for just $5 for as long as they would like to attend.
“Just like a lot of people, I came to First Step Services because of a DWI. I had no idea what to expect, and to be honest there were some people who weren’t taking group seriously. However, the longer I came, the more I enjoyed it. I really made strong connections with other group members, and I hope to stay in with aftercare. I learned a lot about myself in this room, as well as other people. I think that the most valuable thing I gained here was learning how to open my eyes and see things more clearly – I have met so many people here I would never have met otherwise, and they surprised me in such a positive ways. I also learned that recovery is a long process – I’m not going to be “fixed” of all my substance abuse in a month or a year; it’s a constant work in progress, but First Step has definitely helped me get on the right track, and for that I am so grateful.” Anonymous
Paid your fees and can’t get your drivers license restored?
The number one reason for delays in getting drivers licenses restored is the client did not inform the assessing agency of the conviction date. DWI assessment & counseling agencies have no means of knowing when a case is resolved in court, whether conviction or dismissal. Until we are notified that the case has been resolved and the outcome date, a “508” form cannot be completed. The “508” form is the document the State of NC requires to process the paperwork allowing for restoration of driving records. The correct conviction date is absolutely required for the State of NC to release a drivers license for restoration. It is always up to the client to notify the DWI assessment agency of the conviction date or drivers licenses cannot be restored until that time.