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Assessments exist for many different life situations, from anger management to mental health, substance use, and DUI. People may seek an assessment for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s for their own personal knowledge, or to share with a healthcare provider.
Still, some attorneys are reluctant to use them, or simply unsure how to use them most effectively. US Court Assessments has been providing court-worthy assessments for more than a decade, and we’ve put together a list of common scenarios where you can use assessment results to help your clients in the courtroom.
Some attorneys have their client seek an assessment immediately after taking them on. This could mean getting the assessment just days or weeks after the initial offense. An assessment may also be used to challenge an administrative license suspension. In general, the idea is to show that your client has a proactive attitude. Your client may even be able to start following up on recommendations for treatment or education, depending on the results of the assessment. This can help strengthen your case and, in some instances, get charges reduced or even dismissed quickly.
It varies by state and sometimes by judge, but there are some states and judges who have a standard policy of directing certain offenders to get an assessment. Situations where this might occur include:
In these scenarios, offenders may be required to take a drug or alcohol usage assessment to determine if they are struggling with addiction.
An assessment may be requested in a situation related to family court where child custody and child safety concerns are being considered. If parents are discussing custody arrangements during or after divorce proceedings, one or both may be required to complete an assessment for:
These may be requested out of concern for the children’s safety and well-being. In other cases, it may be used as a tactic to position against the opposing parent. However, judges tend to weigh assessments or professional evaluations done by a neutral third party rather than what one parent says about the other parent. A neutral assessment could be helpful in a situation where there are concerns over children’s safety in the home.
Some attorneys may prefer that their clients don’t get an assessment. However, in certain situations, they may decide it’s worth conceding the assessment request to the prosecutor in exchange for something else that benefits their client. For example, a prosecutor might be willing to allow the client to plead guilty and be convicted for a non-alcohol related charge, like reckless driving or operation. In certain cases, they may even drop the charge altogether if the defendant gets an alcohol assessment and follows the recommendations in the report.
In some situations, a case may be complicated or delayed for long periods of time. For example, during the initial months of the COVID pandemic, many cases were delayed due to complications that arose. These delays mean that the assessment was never done, or it was completed so long ago that the judge wants a new assessment done. A new assessment allows the judge to get a fresh look at someone’s substance use or get an update on the current status if the defendant has been in treatment.
For offenses that involve substance use, anger control problems, violence, or mental health concerns, the judge may write the sentence to include an assessment for the appropriate topic. In many cases, the assessment is a condition at the beginning of probation right after sentencing, or at the end of probation as a condition of completion. Either way, there is a time limit on when the defendant must complete the assessment. In the event the defendant has not been able to complete an assessment in a timely way, US Court Assessments offers rush services to meet your court deadlines.
If a defendant has a legal violation or fails a drug test during their time in probation, the probation office may have a standard policy to follow that is issued by the court that might include completion of a professional assessment to show what factors may have been involved in the probation violation and if further corrective actions are recommended to decrease concerns about recidivism.
When an offender serves time in jail or prison for a drug-related crime, the court or prison system may require a substance abuse or mental health assessment shortly after being released. The assessment can be helpful as the individual transitions back into society and a productive future.
Whatever your assessment needs, US Court Assessments is here to help. We produce assessments for a variety of scenarios and offer rush services to meet court deadlines. Our evaluators are professional and caring, and assessments can be completed remotely so your clients can be comfortable at home. If an assessment is not accepted in court, we offer a full money-back guarantee.