Why Did My Attorney Suggest I Get a Substance Use Assessment?
If your attorney has recommended you undergo a substance use assessment, but the court has not, you might be wondering why. There are many reasons why an assessment might be desirable as you approach your court case, and your attorney is aware of that.
Often, substance use assessments are recommended following incidents like drunk driving, drunk and disorderly, or other crimes related to substance abuse. The purpose of the assessment is to ascertain the level of your substance use and the role it plays in your life. Your attorney is likely recommending you undergo an evaluation because it will benefit you in a number of ways. They include:
- Helps your case in court: Undergoing an assessment requested by your attorney does not mean you have to share the results with the court. However, these results are typically beneficial for you as they put your offense in a greater context, which helps the judge get a fuller view of your personal circumstances.
- Highlight your efforts to the prosecutor: In some situations, an assessment can be used as a tool in a plea bargain discussion. For example, the prosecutor may only agree to reduce your legal charges (from DUI to reckless operation for example) if you as the defendant agree to obtain an alcohol assessment and attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel.
- Identify areas of risk: When you undergo your assessment, your evaluator will ask a number of questions to obtain a full picture of your lifestyle and substance use habits. This will help them identify any potential risk factors that you can address, like a tendency to drink to excess or black out.
- Help you to assess your own emotional well-being and mental health: In addition to getting information about your substance use and your specific substance-related offense, your evaluator will also ask a number of questions to gain further insight into you as a person. They can identify if there are underlying mental health or emotional issues that contribute to or impact your substance abuse.
- Allows you to identify and reach out to your support network: A drunk driving or similar offense can feel very isolating. During your evaluation, you will be asked about your social network and family support. This can help lead you to determine who in your life are the most likely to provide support during this difficult time, and allow you to reach out to them as you go through the legal process.
- Enables you to be proactive and modify behavior: If your evaluation results show that you are abusing substances, having the information ahead of time can help you be proactive. You will make a better impression in court if you have already begun to address any negative behavior. For example, you can enroll in and start alcohol education classes or treatment prior to your court date, which will show the judge you are serious about addressing your issues.
- Provides you with resources: Following your evaluation, you will be provided with resources that can help you, if needed. This can include books, podcasts, local counselors, support groups, and more. Recommendations from a trusted professional can help you as you go through the process of getting your life back on track.
If you are in need of an assessment ahead of your court date, US Court Assessments can help. You can receive your completed assessment just 5 business days after your evaluation. We also offer rush services for an additional fee if you need a quick turnaround to meet a court deadline.
Our evaluators are qualified professionals who will not judge you. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about assessments. Simply call us at (833) 446-3100 or, if you know what assessment you need, you can get started right now.