Facebook Avvo Lawyers.com Martindale Justia
Call Us

Call Us Today


Substance Use Disorder Screening
Substance Use Disorder Screening

Substance Use Disorder Screening

Drivers convicted of DWI 1st offense [non-aggravated] must submit to an alcohol and drug abuse screening at the intake interview. It is very important to note the deadlines for scheduling screening. As with many aspects of a DWI case, missing a deadline can mean months of license loss for no other reason than a late phone call or filing. The driver must get the screening scheduled within the Court’s deadlines or there is little, if any, recourse.


The interviewer will use a Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II) and an Addictions Self-Inventory (RIASI) to assist in his/her assessment of the driver. The interviewer has been trained in the use and interpretation of the DRI-II, RIASI, and interview techniques designed to determine the likelihood that the driver suffers from a substance use disorder.

It is important to understand that the interviewer is not your friend. There is a distinct difference between oversharing and honesty. There is a truthfulness scale score within the DRI-II assessment tool designed to determine whether the driver is being honest about the drug and alcohol related questions. The RIASI has no such component. Although it is important that the interviewer is able to trust the answers given, providing more information than is solicited can lead to an unexpected determination that you suffer from a substance abuse disorder even though that is not the reality.


The driver will be required to arrive at the interview with some documentation that the interviewer will also use for his/her determination. The documentation includes the blood alcohol test result (if it exists), the police report, a certified copy of the driving record, and the sentencing order. The information provided in this documentation will ordinarily be accepted as fact and compared with the representations made by the driver at the interview.


Regardless of the outcome of the testing tools and interview, the interviewer may make a finding that the driver has a substance use disorder based on factors present in the documentation. Two of those red flag factors are prior DWIs and high blood alcohol content. If the driving record shows more than one DWI conviction within the past 10 years, that history can trigger a finding of a substance use disorder. A blood alcohol content result (b.a.c.) of 0.16 or higher (for drivers under 21, 0.08) may be enough to trigger a finding of a substance abuse disorder. If other information comes to the attention of the interviewer or other IDCMP staff, they are not limited in the factors that they may consider in support of a finding of a substance use disorder.


If the interviewer decides that the driver is likely to have substance use disorder, the process of becoming eligible for return of the driver’s license becomes longer, more complex, and more expensive. A positive screening for substance use disorder triggers a requirement that the driver then submit to a substance use disorder evaluation.

The additional evaluation may occur during the same meeting with the same interviewer, but is of a different nature and character. The question is no longer whether the driver has a substance abuse disorder, but how serious the driver’s substance use disorder is and the extent of treatment that will be required to address the driver’s substance use disorder.


Attorneys and their clients may agree on different approaches to representation and fee structures. Often, the fixed fees that some attorneys charge end at the courthouse door. When the case has been resolved, they don’t want to hear from you again. If you do contact them, many attorneys will bill you an additional fee each time you call or email with a question.


Attorney Shawn P. Sweeney has a fixed fee structure that applies from the very beginning to the very end of your case. Clients often encounter unexpected stumbling blocks while trying to comply with the requirements to get their license back. Attorney Sweeney welcomes questions and challenges and brings nearly 20 years of experience to your case.

Call now for a free consultation (603) 589-8015. Although you get the maximum benefit from having the best DWI lawyer from the very beginning of your case, we can often get you through a bottleneck or motivate the program participants to follow the rules.