Who Has To Have A Mandatory Alcohol/Drug Assessment in New York?


New York State has enacted a system requiring different levels of alcohol and drug use evaluation and potential treatment for different offenses. At arraignment or, at the discretion of the court, prior to sentencing, you shall be required to undergo either mandatory screening and/or a mandatory assessment. The details of this system are broken down below. 

Mandatory Screening

First time violators charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, Driving While Intoxicated, or Driving While Intoxicated over 0.08% [and either had a breath test result of less than 0.15% or refused the chemical test], must be screened by treatment professional using a standardized written screening test. If your screening indicates that you are abusing or dependent upon alcohol or drugs, you then must undergo the mandatory assessment as set forth below.  In short, pretty much everybody needs to have this done.

Mandatory Assessment

You will be required to undergo a mandatory assessment under any of the following circumstances: 

  1. The screening process set forth above indicates abuse or dependence upon alcohol or drugs; 
  2. You have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Intoxicated per se and had a BAC score of 0.15% or greater; 
  3. You have been charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated; 
  4. You have been charged with violating any provision of VTL §1192 and have either (a) a prior conviction for any provision of VTL §1192, Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Manslaughter within the last 5 years, or (b) two such convictions within ten years. 

The assessment must be forwarded to you and the court within thirty days. If it indicates that treatment is required, the court must require such treatment as a condition of any sentence of probation or conditional discharge.

Miscellaneous Provisions regarding Screening/Assessment/Treatment

All screenings and assessments, along with any treatment arising from such assessment, must be conducted by an “alcohol or substance abuse professional” or “licensed agency” approved by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. While many alcohol counselors are professionally licensed by the New York State Education Department and/or approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles, this level of approval is not sufficient to participate in the new court-mandated program. 

In you are allowed to enter a guilty plea to a charge of Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, participation in the Drinking Driver Program shall be considered compliance with the mandatory treatment program. 

Moreover, in addition to requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices in certain cases, Section 1193[1-a](c) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law also requires that, for defendants convicted of Driving While Intoxicated or Driving with .08% or Greater BAC two or more times within five years, the Court “order that such person receive an assessment of the degree of their alcohol abuse. Where such assessment indicates the need for treatment, such court is authorized to impose treatment as a condition of such sentence.”

If you are charged with a DWI or DWAI drug case, call us:  607-229-5184.

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