Preparing for an Alcohol Evaluation in Colorado
In Colorado, most jurisdictions use the alcohol evaluation to determine the treatment/classes you’ll be required to complete as part of any sentence in a DUI/DWAI case. Generally, the evaluation is completed through the probation department in the jurisdiction where the case is charged, but there are ways to get another jurisdiction to complete a “courtesy evaluation” in the event you live in a different county. Take the evaluation seriously. Show up 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment, dress nicely, and by all means, don’t be impaired when you go. Although this sounds like a no brainer, it happens so frequently that I now warn every client about this. And when I say don’t be impaired, do not have anything to drink in the 24 hours leading up to the evaluation. All to often someone drinks the night before and a probation officer smells it.
The probation department will likely use the Adult Substance Use and Driving Survey, or ASUDS for short to score you on various factors, prior substance use, prior impaired driving, demographics, defensiveness, BAC in the present case, etc. By no means should you attempt to game the assessment. While I certainly cannot tell someone how to answer the questions or what to say, I advise my clients on a number of areas prior to the evaluation. First, be honest. Don’t go to the evaluation and say you had two beers when your BAC is a .200. Next, don’t minimize. Ultimately, you are at the evaluation because you have been charged with, and likely are receiving a sentence for a very serious crime. So its important to reflect on that and let the evaluator know that you are well aware of how serious this is and let them know how you’re taking it seriously. Next, and this needs to be accomplished long before the evaluation, but immediately upon being charged, you must stop drinking. Someone who is able to abstain from alcohol from the date they were charged until the evaluation is completed is certainly less of a risk than someone who has continued to drink, even in light of being charged with an alcohol related offense. The latter will almost certainly be required to complete more treatment than the former. Finally, get a head start. Once I know that a client is going to be pleading guilty and receive classes/treatment as part of their sentence, I advise them to begin immediately. This way, you’re not just going to the evaluation and telling them that you take this seriously, but you’ve demonstrated that you are in fact taking it seriously.
Remember, by the time you get to the alcohol evaluation, you’ve already pled guilty in most cases, therefore the time to deny the accusations has passed. If you aren’t prepared to go to the evaluation and take your lumps so to speak, you should not have pled guilty in the first place. This is just a brief summary of what I routinely advise clients. Remember, if you are charged with a DUI in Colorado, its important to hire competent legal counsel. All too often people try to go it alone, which only makes things worse.