DUI alcohol evaluations in Illinois
An alcohol evaluation is one of the many requirements of a DUI plea. It is essentially the first step of treatment or counseling as a result of a DUI sentence imposed on an individual. An alcohol evaluation is the process wherein an individual submits to a professional evaluation to determine if any alcohol or drug problems are present and what course of treatment should be recommended and implemented to address the abuse issues. Evaluations should only be conducted by agencies licensed and approved by the Department of Human Services. Depending on the county, there may be only one official evaluator. The individual is responsible for paying for the cost of an evaluation.
An alcohol evaluation will assess whether alcohol or drug problems are present and to what extent the problems have become a part of an individual’s life. The second part of an evaluation should include a recommended course of treatment that corresponds with the determined level of abuse or addiction. Generally, there are four levels or categories of treatment in which an individual can be placed. A person can be classified as minimal risk, moderate risk, significant risk and high risk. The level of treatment will determine the number of hours a person must complete as a part of their sentencing. The higher the risk the more treatment will be required. An evaluation can also recommend that an individual should undergo in-patient or out-patient care. Individuals are responsible for paying for the costs of all counseling and treatment if it is not covered by their health insurance. The costs of treatment for a DUI can be very high.
Under Illinois law, before a sentence for a DUI can be imposed, an individual must undergo an alcohol evaluation at a licensed facility. After a plea of guilty or a finding of guilty, the court must review and consider the alcohol evaluation and its recommendations before handing out a sentence. A court cannot grant court supervision for a DUI without the benefit of an evaluation. A judge will usually follow the recommendations of treatment but is not necessarily bound by it. If the court, after considering factors in aggravation and mitigation, decides to impose a lower or higher level of treatment then it has the discretion to do so.