DUI & DWI Alcohol Treatment Programs

4 min read · 10 sections

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you may be referred to court-mandated treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Court-mandated DUI treatment may include formal substance abuse treatment and other therapeutic interventions that target substance abuse and its consequences.

This article takes an in-depth view of the tests used to identify an impaired driver, what happens after a DUI test is completed, the elements of court-ordered treatment, and the costs of being charged with DUI. The content of this article is not designed to serve as a substitute for professional legal advice but is constructed for educational purposes only. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to speak with a licensed attorney.

What Happens During a DUI Test or Checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints are pre-identified locations determined by law enforcement in which every driver is given a sobriety test or every driver at a certain interval (every 4th car) is given a sobriety test.1

DUI checkpoints have existed for many years, but they continue to be controversial among United States citizens. In fact, some states deem DUI checkpoints are illegal due to violating constitutional rights.1

Still, studies show that DUI checkpoints are effective in reducing impaired driving and the subsequent damage that impaired driving can cause. A review of 11 studies that assessed the efficacy of DUI checkpoints found that there was a 20% reduction in alcohol-related injuries and property damage crashes.1

Whether law enforcement stops you at a DUI checkpoint or pulls you over for suspicion of impaired driving, they will most likely ask you to take a field sobriety test. It is important to understand that while you may refuse to take this test and its smaller assessment, doing so could be used against you in a court of law.

Field Sobriety Test

A standard field sobriety test is generally a series of 3 smaller assessments proven to be effective in measuring intoxication. These three steps are administered by a law enforcement officer and include:2

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN).
  • Walk and turn (WAT).
  • One-leg stand (OLS).

In a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) assessment, a law enforcement officer is looking for involuntary jerking of the eyes as you look side to side (which is indicative of being under the influence of certain drugs or alcohol).2 In WAT and OLS assessments, law enforcement agents challenge your capability to divide your attention between a physical and mental task. A study conducted by the Southern California Research Institute found that the HGN alone was 77% accurate in determining intoxication, the OLS on its own was 65% accurate, and the WAT on its own was 68% accurate.2

If you refuse a field sobriety test, an officer can still arrest you if they suspect you may be impaired. A standard breathalyzer test can also be used to determine your intoxication level. Each state has its own laws regarding breathalyzers and the consequences if you refuse to comply with one. In Michigan, for example, if you refuse a breathalyzer, your license will automatically be suspended for a year and you will have 6 points added to your driving record.3 Be sure to check with your state to find out the laws that apply to you.

What Happens After a DUI Test

When you take a DUI test, you will either pass or fail. If you fail, law enforcement officers may arrest you. After an arrest, you may need to go through the judicial courts to resolve your charges.

Drug court is a specialized part of the court system that is designed for people who have nonviolent drug and alcohol charges. This can include misdemeanor and felony charges. There are 3 primary reasons for drug court being its own specialized sector of the criminal justice system. The 3 reasons are:4

  • Judges, public defenders, and state attorneys become more proficient in drug crimes, which makes processing paperwork and court proceedings more efficient.
  • Drug offenses are the court’s priority and are not susceptible to being pushed aside for other more violent cases.
  • Drug cases can be developed through street-level enforcement efforts that help produce strong evidence and witnesses, which leads to more equality and fairness in sentencing and saves valuable time.

What is Court-Ordered Treatment for DUIs/DWIs?

Court-ordered DUI treatment is a form of substance abuse treatment that is ordered by the court system as an alternative to traditional sentencing. This form of treatment offers chemically dependent offenders a chance to target their underlying illness and dysfunction while under simultaneous judicial supervision. This model of treatment, when compared to incarceration or probation, is thought to benefit the offender and the overall health and safety of the public.5

Court-ordered substance abuse treatment may exist in the form of inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, drug court programs, individual therapy and drug counseling, or a mixture of these options. Court-ordered treatment for DUIs and DWIs may also address other behavioral issues that drive criminal behavior through services such as anger management counseling. While some DUI rehab centers are state-funded, others accept private insurance and other forms of payment. Due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, some rehab centers are also offer telehealth rehab services and remote rehab.

The criminal justice system may apply legal pressure on offenders to receive alcohol abuse treatment as a condition of their probation or parole, as well. Contrary to popular belief, legal pressure on behalf of the court can actually increase treatment attendance and retention. Many of those who experience legal pressure to attend alcohol treatment boast better treatment outcomes than people who entered alcohol treatment without legal pressure.6

Drug courts utilize a team of substance abuse and mental health professionals to help those addicted to alcohol and other drugs recover from their substance abuse issues and become a healthy, functioning, and productive member of society. Goals of drug court programs may include:7

  1. Reduction in alcohol or other drug dependencies.
  2. Reduce recidivism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend).
  3. Reduce drug-related court workload.
  4. Increase accountability and build a support system.
  5. Promote effective interactions among criminal justice personnel.

Instead of looking exclusively at the crime a person committed, drug courts might seek to rehabilitate  – rather than punish – an offender who was charged alcohol or drug related crimes. By treating the substance use problem, a person can become rehabilitated and potentially reduce the likelihood of future offenses and criminal behavior.

Court-ordered alcohol and drug rehab has multiple advantages over typical jail time. Drug courts and court-ordered DUI treatment programs are centered around the offender, and their crime is looked at as a symptom of their underlying disease of addiction.4

Is DUI Rehab or Alcohol Treatment Necessary?

Whether or not DUI rehab or alcohol treatment is necessary depends upon your particular situation, goals, and preferences. Choosing to participate in alcohol abuse treatment under legal pressure may be a wise choice if you are facing jail time for drug or alcohol related charges, have children, and more.

What Happens After DUI/DWI Treatment?

Substance abuse treatment has been proven to be highly effective, especially in programs that are 90 days or longer.8 (However, any amount of treatment for a substance abuse issue is worthwhile.) After completing inpatient treatment at a DUI alcohol rehab, you may be expected to follow certain protocols and they can vary depending on your specific charge(s) and the state you live in.

DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, for example, are required to have a device installed on their car that prevents operation if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath for an indefinite amount of time.9 After DUI treatment, additional recommendations by the court or your treatment center may include attending AA/NA meetings, individual therapy, and continual medication monitoring.

How Much Does Getting a DUI Cost?

The costs associated with a DUI, which can be catastrophic, vary from state to state. These costs include legal fees, court fines, cost of treatment, and jail costs (depending on the state you live in). There may also be secondary costs associated with a DUI, such as an increase in your auto insurance rates.

On average, your first DUI may cost roughly $24,000. This may include:10

  • $1,500 in court fines.
  • $330 for 3 days in jail.
  • $3,000-$5,000 in court proceedings.
  • $200-$250 for license reinstatement fees.
  • $200 for a court-appointed attorney.

It is important to note that these are estimated costs. You may also end up paying certain costs to attend substance abuse treatment or in the process of being on probation. Other possible costs include co-pays for behavioral therapy, lost work productivity and wages, increases in auto insurance rates, and other court-related costs.

Can I Go to DUI Rehab Instead of Jail?

In some cases, you might be given an opportunity to attend alcohol rehabilitation treatment instead of serving a jail sentence. Many variables can determine eligibility, including criminal history, the specific charges, age, and the state you live in.

The following variables might make court-appointed rehab more likely than jail:11

  • You are under 25 years old.
  • You have never been in substance abuse treatment.
  • You report alcohol as your primary substance of abuse.
  • You can receive treatment in an ambulatory (outpatient) setting.

These are generalizations, and you may be able to attend alcohol treatment even if you don’t meet any of the above-mentioned characteristics.

How Can DUIs Affect Employment?

Your employment status may be impacted by getting a DUI. Many employers run background checks before hiring candidates. Unfortunately, the record of your DUI may impede your ability to attain certain new job positions. If you receive a DUI while employed, you may be required to take time off from work to deal with your court proceedings, attend treatment, and follow legal requirements.

Your employment may be impacted after a DUI in other ways as well. If getting a DUI automatically strips you of previously held certifications or licenses, the DUI may impact your ability to legally perform your job and, thus, your employment. If driving is part of your job and your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, your ability to perform the job will likely be directly impacted.

However, there are also various protective measures in place for current employees who get DUIs or need treatment for an alcohol use disorder. The American Disability Act (ADA) protects employees against workplace discrimination for needing substance abuse treatment.12 However, the relevance of and ability to employ the ADA depends on various factors, such as whether the employee is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. An employer can still choose to discipline a person or discharge them from their current position if their alcohol abuse is negatively impacting their job performance.2

DUI Treatment Centers Near Me: Get Court-Ordered Rehab Near Me

When you call American Addiction Centers (AAC) for court-ordered rehab, we will have plenty of experts ready to answer your questions about court-ordered treatment programs.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of alcohol and substance abuse treatment. With treatment centers across the country, AAC uses evidence-based treatment strategies to help you accomplish your recovery goals. We can help you cope with the legal pressure that has encouraged you to begin treatment with us and deal with any and all emotions that may arise during this time.

AAC has trained and experienced admissions navigators available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions and provide support as you begin the treatment process. Call to speak with a compassionate admissions navigator today. Your call will remain 100% confidential and there is no obligation in calling.

Take Our Self Assessment

Not everyone who gets a DUI is an alcoholic or has an alcohol abuse problem. Find out whether you may have alcohol abuse issues below by using our 2-minute alcohol use self-assessment.

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