North Carolina law requires that, upon your DWI conviction, you enter an education or treatment program of some kind. The first step in this process is an assessment by a Certified or Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor. According to First Step Services, this determines the type of intervention you require and the level of your placement.

If this is your first DWI offense, you likely have questions about the assessment. Here are some important things you need to know.

What does a DWI assessment cost?

The state legislature has established a non-negotiable $100 fee for a DWI assessment. You are responsible for paying it, but a provider or facility cannot charge you any more nor any less.

How long will the DWI assessment take?

The assessment takes at least 90 minutes. This includes both the assessment and completing the necessary paperwork.

What must you provide to complete the assessment?

You must obtain a certified copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you took a breath test upon your arrest, you must also provide written proof of the reading.

What happens during the assessment? 

You will fill out a structured assessment questionnaire and then have an interview with a counselor. The goal is to determine, first, whether you have a problem with alcohol or drugs and, second, to determine the severity of the problem.

Can you get the assessment done before your trial?

Not only is it possible to have the assessment done before your trial, but it may also be to your advantage to do so. It might be a mitigating factor that lessens your punishment level. If you intend to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege, a DWI assessment is a prerequisite.