A driver convicted of a DWI charge in North Carolina, must complete a DWI assessment and go through some form of education and/or treatment to reinstate drivers’ license. The state also specifies the length and intensity of education and treatment required by the offender based upon the DWI assessment. The treatments are graded per level and there are 5 broad levels in accordance with the ASAM criteria. Treatment level to be received by the driver is determined by some factors, and they include:
- Prior DWI case within the last 7 years.
- Whether, or not the driver refused a chemical test at the time of the arrest.
- The information gathered from the substance abuse assessment.
The DWI education and treatment sessions at our office use the ASAM criteria and its recommended treatment levels. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria is the most widely used and comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. ASAM’s treatment criteria provide separate placement criteria for adolescents and adults to create comprehensive and individualized treatment plans. Adolescent and adult treatment plans are developed through a multidimensional assessment over five broad levels of treatment that are based on the degree of direct medical management provided, the structure, safety, and security provided, and the intensity of treatment services provided.
Please note that our office only offers ADETS, short-term and long-term outpatient treatment and services.
Level 1: DWI Education- Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS)
Most first-time offenders without prior DWI history usually fall into this category. It is a program for first time DWI offenders and it is known as the early intervention ASAM criteria service. It is 16-hour alcohol and drug prevention program that is recommended when:
- The assessment did not identify a substance use disorder diagnosis as determined by ASAM (American Society of Addictions Medicine) upon completion of comprehensive alcohol and drug use evaluation.
- The person has no previous DWI offense conviction (Total Lifetime).
- The person did not refuse to submit to a chemical test.
- At the time of arrest, the person had an alcohol concentration of 0.14% or less.
- The person meets the admission criteria for early intervention.
- Must be a minimum of sixteen contact hours completed in no less than 4 sessions.
Level 2.0: Outpatient Treatment and Services
This level includes the short and long-term outpatient service that ranges from 20-39 hours for short-term and 40-89 hours for long-term. The requirements for the short and long-term treatment are outlined below.
Short-term Outpatient Treatment
This level of treatment is used when the substance abuse assessment reveals that, more treatment is needed beyond what is offered in ADETS classes. This level of service consists of at least 20 hours of counseling over 30 days. It is recommended when:
- The assessment outcome suggests a diagnosis of psychoactive substance abuse only (meaning there is no evidence of dependence or addiction).
- The person had an alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher at the time of arrest.
- The person refused a chemical test at the time of arrest.
- Assessment reveals the person has problems relating to a family history of substance abuse.
- The assessment suggests the person has other problems caused or associated with alcohol or drug use.
Long-term Outpatient Treatment
Long-term treatment is used for clients who meet the criteria for substance dependence. Dependence occurs when a person moves from the casual abuse or misuse of a substance to the physical need or reliance on the substance for daily function. This program consists of a minimum of 40 hours of treatment over 60 days involving group and individual counseling. It is usually recommended when the driver shows signs of drug and/or alcohol dependence.
Level 3.0: Intensive Outpatient Treatment
This level of treatment is used when the substance abuse assessment confirms a diagnosis of substance abuse dependence beyond the scope of the long-term treatment level. It is a minimum of 90 hours treatment for at least 90 days. It requires a more advanced education and treatment to enable the client to overcome the dependence. The services offered for this level includes a structured program consisting of, but is not limited to the following:
- Individual and group counseling.
- Strategies for a job and career enhancement.
- Family counseling and support groups.
- Case management and referral services.
- Biochemical assays to identify recent drug use (e.g., urine drug screens).
- Strategies to prevent relapse and recidivism.
- Parenting and life skills education.
- Crisis contingency planning.
- Disease management.
- Life Coaching.
Level 4.0: Inpatient and Residential Treatment Services
This treatment level is carried out for a minimum of 90 days of residential treatment in a recovery or rehabilitation center. A continued written care plan beyond the 90 days is usually advised. It is recommended when a client is demonstrating the following characteristics, indicating that the outpatient treatment was not successful.
- An addiction to a substance.
- Withdrawal risk.
- Need for medical monitoring.
- Emotional and behavioral problems requiring a structured setting.
- High resistance to treatment.
- Inability to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol.
Level 5.0: Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Services
This level of care offers 24-hour nursing care and daily physician care for severe, unstable problems in ASAM Dimensions 1, 2 or 3. Counseling is available to engage patients in treatment.
It is important to note that the ASAM criteria treatment levels have sublevels within the five broad levels of care represented with decimals. They are used to express gradations of intensity services further.
If you or a loved one needs a drug or alcohol evaluation and DWI assessment, it is important to contact a court-recognized facility. At Achieving Changes Counseling Services, PLLC, we provide drug and alcohol evaluation, treatment, and education services.