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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2011
A man drinking alcohol from a bottle while driving - Leckerman Law, LLC

A DUI is a serious matter. While first-time offenders may have better luck than repeat offenders, few people can afford to deal with the consequences of being arrested for driving under the influence. There are many consequences for being convicted of DUI. Continued alcohol and drug screening and counseling are often the result of such an arrest.

States such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey assign alcohol/drug screening and counseling as a penalty for being convicted of a DUI. Such screening and counseling can also become a condition of sentence when pleading guilty to a lesser charge through plea bargaining. Each case varies, but alcohol screening and abuse counseling are used both as a deterrent from repeat offenses and as help for those who truly have a problem with alcohol or drugs.

Alcohol Screening

Alcohol screening is often a necessary part of the process. This is especially important for repeat offenders who need professional help with their drinking problem. During this process, the defendant is ordered to not drink and they are subjected to random alcohol screenings. If the screening comes up positive, the defendant runs the risk of being convicted of violating the terms of their probation. They may end up with a longer probationary period, higher fines, a jail sentence or some combination of the aforementioned.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Alcohol abuse treatment is another penalty often mandated for those involved in DUI cases. This type of treatment can be administered on an inpatient or an outpatient basis. During this treatment, medical help is often administered to help control addictions. Talk therapy is also used to help find out the underlying reasons why a person may be suffering from an addiction or from the destructive behavior often involved with drinking and driving.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Not everyone is subjected to inpatient or outpatient alcohol abuse treatment. Many people are sentenced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help them stay sober. This involves locating and attending local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis, getting a sponsor, and going through the steps necessary to complete the program.

Alcohol abuse and screening are not always used as penalties for drunken driving convictions. Many people choose to attend these classes on their own following a conviction. Repeat offenders stand to be of the most benefit from involvement in such programs, as finding alternatives to drinking and finding other ways of coping with life’s stresses as well as assistance in making better decisions.

There are DUI penalties for failing to follow a court order to seek treatment. The consequences of failing to attend classes and/or treatment vary on a case-to-case basis. Many people may end up in jail and with an extended period of probation.

Cost of DUI Treatment

In general, health care insurance may pay for drug and alcohol treatment, if an evaluation determines the person to be in need of such treatment. Treatment can cost at least $500 a day for inpatient stays. Of course, outpatient treatment is less expensive, but may not be the appropriate choice for someone who is currently in crisis and needs extensive therapy for an acute problem. The drug and alcohol evaluation will determine what is the best course of action for the patient.

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