Substance Abuse Evaluations in Virginia 

Substance abuse evaluations in Virginia are intended to determine whether a person is in need of further treatment. In some cases, a person may have gotten into trouble, it is an isolated incident, and there is no reason to believe that there is an underlying substance abuse problem.

In other cases, there is a larger underlying issue which needs to be addressed. It sometimes can be addressed prior to court, which may create a scenario where there is more lenient treatment in terms of a plea agreement offered by a prosecutor or by a judge at sentencing. If you want to know more about substance abuse evaluations and how they may impact your case, speak with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer today.

Process of a Substance Abuse Evaluation

Substance abuse evaluations in Virginia are normally going to involve an interview with questions asked to determine the substance a person may be using, the frequency they use them, and the reasons that they use them. Normally, there is also going to be a drug test to determine what is in a person’s system at that time.

Some evaluations can be done independently in a pre-trial setting if it is to the benefit of the defendant in defending the case or creating mitigation. Some of these evaluations, perhaps most of them, are going to be administered in the context of a sentencing event where the defendant has been placed on probation and directed to have this evaluation done.

Requesting an Evaluation

Anyone can request that a private entity conduct a substance abuse evaluation on their behalf and create a report. For one to be ordered by a court, normally it is going to need to be something that a judge asks for or orders after a probation officer or prosecutor has asked for it.

Who Administers the Evaluations?

Any person that is a licensed professional and qualified in administering this kind of test can give one in Virginia, as long as they had training in that area. There are a variety of different kinds of medical and mental health professionals that can administer one. If a person is required to undergo a substance abuse evaluation as a part of their probation, then that evaluation very often will be administered by a probation officer.

A person can get a substance abuse evaluation independently. In some cases, it may make sense to do that to convince a prosecutor or a judge that a person is deserving of a break in their case. The vast majority of evaluations are administered by the government through the probation office.

Consequences of an Evaluation

If a person undergoes an evaluation that shows that they are not in need of any additional services, which is the vast majority of cases, none are going to be ordered by a court nor would any be recommended by the attorney in a pre-trial setting. However, if evaluation indicated that an individual might have a pattern of substance abuse or is predisposed to addictive behavior, that could affect their case.

Pattern of Substance Abuse

Depending on the context, substance abuse evaluations in Virginia that indicate a pattern of substance abuse may invariably lead to mandated additional treatment. Whether it is at a pre-trial to persuade a persecutor that the underlying problem is being addressed or whether it is post-sentencing and a person has been ordered to undergo evaluation as part of their sentence, in most cases, they are going to be ordered as part of the sentence of the court to complete whatever treatment the probation office thinks is appropriate.

Addictive Behavior

If there is a report that indicates addictive behavior, then in most cases, there is going to be a requirement that some treatment is provided to address that behavior. Sometimes it is going to be in-patient treatment and sometimes it is out-patient treatment, but normally it is treatment directed or administered by the probation office.

Benefits of Undergoing a Substance Abuse Evaluation

The primary benefit of substance abuse evaluations in Virginia pre-trial is going to be that it could create some evidence that you are not an addict and are not in need of additional services that a court may order.

In the context of probation, the benefit is to determine whether additional conditions are going to be ordered by the court or whether it is a scenario where those things are not necessary or needed. If you want to know more, consult a qualified assault attorney that could answer your questions.