Once you are convicted for driving under the influence in the state of Georgia, you will not only have to pay out thousands in fines, get your license taken away, and have to live with a criminal record, but you will also be required to have a counselor evaluate your for substance abuse problems. Just one of the many penalties that come with a DUI conviction, a mandatory clinical evaluation and substance abuse treatment may last for up to a year.

Mandatory DUI Clinical Evaluation and Treatment in Georgia

As part of all DUI convictions, even for a first time DUI (unless the court waives this requirement), you will have to undergo a clinical evaluation or substance abuse assessment. This has to be conducted by a state-approved professional licensed or certified in addiction. You can find a list of approved clinicians on the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) website.

The evaluation will last from an hour to two hours, and involve a review of your DUI school assessment, and an assessment interview. The evaluator will try and determine your need for treatment, and write an evaluation report. This evaluation report will determine whether you are finished with the process, or whether you will need to undergo additional treatment and how in-depth the treatment should be.

Continuing Treatment

The clinical evaluation is independent from the required substance abuse treatment, and cannot be handled by the same evaluator. You will need to find an approved substance abuse treatment provider that offers the level of American Society of Addiction Medicine treatment, as specified by the evaluator. This could range from outpatient treatment to intensive inpatient care. Program timeframes could be anywhere up to 52 weeks.

Some research shows that the length of time for a treatment program correlates with the success of the substance abuse outcome. Substance abuse treatment will require regular attendance and participation. This usually involves group and individual counseling sessions. If you decide not to attend treatment, then you may be kicked out of the program, and will have to start treatment all over again from the beginning.

Treatment can be started even before you are convicted of a DUI. In some cases, this is recommended as a way to show the court and judge that you are taking the DUI arrest seriously, and can lessen the impact as far as the harshest penalties go.

Atlanta DUI Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI in Atlanta, you may face a number of possible penalties, including jail time, fines and fees, a suspended driver's license, community service, and completion of DUI school. In many cases, all these penalties can be avoided completely by seeking out a qualified and experienced Atlanta defense lawyer who dedicates their practice to defending people charged with driving under the influence. I understand what a DUI can mean for you and your family, and will help to guide you through the administrative and criminal proceedings, to make sure you get fair treatment. Make sure this one-time mistake doesn't end with a criminal record. Call my office anytime, 24/7.