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In Washington DUI Law, What is an Alcohol Evaluation?



Anyone who is convicted for an alcohol related driving request (DUI, or a DUI amended to a lesser offense) will be required to obtain an alcohol/drug evaluation from a state-certified agency.  There are several things the evaluator will take into consideration.  First, the evaluator will need a copy of the police report and breath/blood report that gave rise to the need for the evaluation.  Next, he/she will need a copy of the person’s criminal record and driving record (to review for any prior alcohol/drug charges).  Prior to the actual meeting with the evaluator, the first thing obtained is a urinalysis to check for any non-prescribed drugs or alcohol in the system.  The person will also complete a MAST/DAST screening test.  MAST stands for Michigan Alcohol Screening Test.  It is a 22 question test regarding a person’s exposure to alcohol.  DAST stands for Drug Abuse Screening Test.  It is a 20 question test regarding a person’s exposure to drugs.  In addition, the person will fill out a questionnaire regarding their history with alcohol/drugs.  After completing the written part of the evaluation, the person will have a meeting with the evaluator.  At this meeting, questions will be asked regarding any family history of addiction and patterns of alcohol and drug usage.

The evaluator will use Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a tool for diagnosing a substance use disorder (abuse or dependence) and then rely on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) for appropriate placement in treatment once diagnosis is made using DSM.  There is a wide range of diagnosis that an evaluator can reach based on all of the information provided at the evaluation.  The range can be anywhere from insufficient evidence of abuse or dependence (with the recommendation for an 8 hour alcohol/drug information school) all the way through alcohol or drug dependence with long-term in-patient treatment.

There are many state certified agencies in Washington that provide alcohol drug evaluations.  It is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney prior to having an alcohol/ drug evaluation.  While the costs of the evaluations range from $75 to $200+, there are many agencies which are known to label people as having problems in order for them to commit to long-term treatment.