DWI in the Twin Cities: Treatment

doctorGuest blog by anonymous former client

After getting a DWI you will likely be asked to get a chemical health assessment.  During that assessment you will be asked a lot of questions about your chemical use such as:

  • When you drink
  • Where you drink (bars, at home, etc.)
  • How much and how often you drink
  • What reasons you drink (when you’re under stress, to have fun, to relax, etc.)

The assessment is done to determine if you are chemically dependent or at risk of becoming chemically dependent.  It is extremely helpful to your legal case to get an assessment done before you go to court as it shows that you take your case seriously.

The average cost of an assessment is $250.00.  One thing to keep in mind is that many places do not accept health insurance for assessments.  The benefit of this is that your health insurance company will not have access to these records and it also keeps this information off of your permanent medical record.  Once you have completed an assessment you will need to follow the recommendations.

First time DWI offenders are placed in a level 1 or level 2 DWI class.  Level 1 is an 8 hour class while level 2 is 12-16 hours. These classes are designed for individuals who can benefit by more education about alcohol and drug use.

For second or third time offenders, outpatient or inpatient treatment is usually recommended.  An outpatient program typically runs about 6-8 weeks and is for individuals that have been diagnosed as chemically dependent or abusive.  Inpatient treatment is for individuals with severe chemical dependency issues.  The typical stay is 28-30 days.

These programs are designed to help you learn about yourself and your relationship with drugs and alcohol.  You will be asked to share information about yourself, and while it is not always comfortable to share personal information with complete strangers, you might be surprised at how much you will relate to other people.  You might even find it therapeutic.

I was enrolled in an outpatient program earlier this year and this particular scenario was very hard for me.  I am a very private person and sharing what was going on in my life with complete strangers was very difficult and uncomfortable.  There were parts of the program that worked for me and parts that didn’t.  I got more out of listening to other people’s situations and trying to gain wisdom through their experiences than I did by sharing my own.  When I completed the program I felt a huge sense of accomplishment because I had made it through something that was really hard for me.

While I personally did not enjoy treatment, not everyone has the same experience.  My advice is to try to make treatment work for you by finding something you can take away from it. It will be worth it in the end.

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Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.

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