Not all DUI charges stem from a single bad decision—sometimes, they can be a product of deeper issues that specialized intervention and counseling could help to remedy. In light of this, substance abuse evaluations in Charleston are often utilized within DUI cases to answer questions about substance abuse and determine the role it may have played in causing the charge in question. A dedicated DUI lawyer could offer further clarification about how these evaluation work and whether seeking one might be in your best interests.
The Purpose of Substance Abuse Evaluations
The intended purpose of a substance abuse evaluation is to build up mitigation in a case and ensure that any underlying issues a person may have that led to a DUI are addressed quickly and responsibly. Even if the facts of the case seem grim, an individual facing a DUI could still obtain a favorable result by showing a prosecutor or the court that they have handled the matter responsibly and are unlikely to recommit in the future.
Any sort of medical assessment—including substance abuse evaluations—is a private matter that is protected by HIPAA. And at Adams & Bischoff we take it one step further in certain situations by hiring the medical expert ourselves via a Letter of Engagement so that attorney-client privilege attaches to all communications. While a lawyer can decide whether or not an evaluation would be helpful for a particular case, a lawyer cannot order a substance abuse evaluation in a Charleston DUI case.
Administering the Evaluation
Anyone who wants a substance abuse evaluation can request one, but nobody can order an individual to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, as they are typically voluntary. Even such orders from a bond court judge are not enforceable even though they may be very sound reasoning behind the suggestion.
Substance abuse evaluations in Charleston are similar to other such assessments conducted in other states. These evaluations are typically conducted in person, where the evaluator might ask the individual standardized questions according to accepted psychological assessments for substance abuse. A substance abuse evaluation in Charleston typically focuses on questions about the individual’s alcohol use to determine whether they could have a substance abuse problem.
What Happens if an Evaluation Indicates Substance Abuse?
There are no real consequences for an evaluation that indicates a pattern of substance abuse or addictive behavior. However, a responsible attorney should talk with their client about the unfavorable results from the evaluation and suggest that their client takes steps to address underlying issues rather than hope they go away or ignore them.
Conversely, the results of an evaluation that indicates no tendency towards future substance abuse problems would likely be utilized by the attorney at a later date when discussing the case with the prosecutor to demonstrate that their client does not have any underlying substance abuse issues. In this way, undergoing a substance abuse evaluation in Charleston can prove to a prosecutor that there is no real underlying issue and that the individual exhibits no pattern of conduct.
A Substance Abuse Evaluation Could Help with a Charleston DUI Case
When it comes to prosecuting DUI charges, one of the primary objectives that South Carolina courts have is preventing repeat offenses in the interest of public safety. Increasingly harsh punishments accomplish this to some degree, but a substance abuse evaluation could also play a key role in identifying unhealthy behavior and taking action to address it proactively. For more information about substance abuse evaluations in Charleston DUI cases, contact a seasoned lawyer.