Alcohol and Substance Abuse Screening & Counseling for DUIs

Alcohol and substance abuse counseling for DUIs. My name is Gordon Thompson and today is July 7, 2016. The topic for today’s podcast is, alcohol and substance abuse screening and counseling for DUIs in Arizona.


A person would have to go through at least a screening session for possible alcohol or drug counseling under two circumstances. The first is if the motor vehicle department, the MVD, commences a proceeding to suspend the person’s license or privilege to drive because of alcohol or drugs and the license is in fact suspended for that purpose then to get the license or privilege to drive reinstated the person has to go through a screening session for possible counseling. For the motor vehicle proceedings that result in suspensions it is only required that the person go through a screening session, and they do not have to complete any counseling as result, but they have to go through the screening session.


If the license is not suspended through a motor vehicle (MVD) proceeding but the person is found guilty in court of DUI then the court would have to order the person to go through the same type of screening session. Sometimes the same screening session can be used for both proceedings, but it depends on the individual court. Some, for example Phoenix, would say that you could use the screening done for motor vehicle purposes for their court purposes as well, whereas Chandler says no, you have to go to their separate screening agency.


The purpose of the screening, at least as it pertains alcohol, is to determine if in fact it appears the person has a problem with alcohol. There are two basic classifications of individuals that would come out of the screening. One is a level I offender, and a level I offender is somebody that indicates certain behaviors that shows a potential problem with alcohol. What the screeners do is go through the factors that they would use to make this classification, the most important one of which is, what the alcohol level is, namely, is it above a .15%. Other factors are, has a person gone through a DUI before, or been convicted of DUI and done a screening session before, or do they miss work on a regular basis? These factors would indicate that the person is a level I offender.


A level 2 offender is somebody who does not appear to have a problem. That could be somebody who has a prior case DUI case but never done counseling or, more importantly in the context of the current case, has an alcohol level less than a .15%.


The significance of the classification (level 1 or Level 2) is what happens afterwards if it is guilty in court. Remember again, for motor vehicle (MVD) proceedings all you have to do is the screening but for court purposes you also have to do any recommended counseling. By counseling what I mean is basically two components.


One is a 16-hour education program in which the person learns about the dangers of drinking.  For a level 2 offender, the least serious, that is always the requirement, namely 16 hours of alcohol education or drug education.


If the person is a level I offender they also have to do the 16 hours of education and in addition to that they have to do at least 20 hours of treatment. Treatment is generally done in group treatment, several hours at a time. The treatment has to meet the state requirement of being at least 20 hours of treatment however can be much more. It can be 54 hours, or even more than that. The treatment goes to trying to deal with the problem of possible alcohol or drug abuse.


In terms of the screening, that can be done telephonically. What the person does is just call an agency over the telephone.  The person must be screened by somebody who is a professional.


The counseling consisting of the the education can clearly be done online and is authorized to be done online, and so nobody has to actually go to any classes. They can do the education online if they’re doing it with an agency that permits them to do it online.


The treatment, that would be up to the agency whether that could be done online or not. There is some question about that, but there that would be up to the agency. Otherwise it would be in-office counseling over a period of time.


The education and treatment is important for court purposes because if the person doesn’t do that as well, or doesn’t do the screening, then they have to do additional jail time or can be held in contempt of court, and so that’s why they would have to do it for court.


For motor vehicle (MVD) purposes the 16 hours of education also may have some meaning. The reason for that is, if the person is found guilty of a first offense regular DUI they would be ordered to do a vehicle ignition interlock for a period of 1 year. If they had no problems with it after 6 months, and had completed both the screening and the 16 hours of education, they are eligible for deferment where they can have it removed for 6 months after they have done the initial 6 months. So for motor vehicle (MVD) purposes the education is important as well.


As I said before, the screening can be done telephonically; in addition the education may be done online and, in some circumstances, the treatment may be as well.


I use a particular agency because they’re very good at doing the screening telephonically as well as the treatment and the education online. The agency is Crosswinds Counseling Services, which is run by a psychologist, Dr. Joseph Patterson.  I recommend all my clients to him because he does a great job and is very helpful. If you read the transcript of this podcast, at the bottom you’ll see his contact information and I strongly suggest that if you have to do the screening for motor vehicle (MVD) purposes, or the screening and counseling for court purposes, then by all means contact Dr. Patterson.


So that is today’s podcast; alcohol and substance abuse screening and counseling for Arizona DUIs.


If you have any questions please call me.


To reach out to Crosswinds Counseling:


Dr. Joseph Patterson

Crosswinds Counseling Service, Inc.

512 East Southern Avenue, Suite C

Tempe, Arizona

(480) 329-4348

Get your questions answered - call me now for a free phone consultation (602) 467-3680