Substance Abuse Evaluations

Many Michigan lawyers refer their clients to me for a substance abuse evaluation.  There are many different types of substance abuse evaluations, and your lawyer will know which type to request.  While all substance abuse evaluations have the same essential parts and the same essential function, the format can be quite a bit different.

Three common reasons your lawyer might request that I prepare a substance abuse evaluations in your case are:

  1. To assist in plea negotiations;
  2. To assist in sentencing;
  3. As required for a Driver License Appeal, such as when you have either refused the breath/blood test and are requesting a license from Circuit Court, or when you’ve lost your license for repeat drunk driving convictions.

I have been preparing all of these evaluations for my Michigan patients for more than 15 years, and have a great deal of understanding of what various courts and hearing officers are looking for in these evaluations, as well as a deep understanding of what the law requires.

For example, in a driver license restoration case, Michigan uses a standard form which includes all of the following information.  If I see you in order to prepare a substance abuse evaluation in support of a request for a license, then this evaluation will include the following nine sections:

  1. Lifetime Conviction History – I will be relying on you to provide me with accurate information because this section must include a listing of all crimes involving drugs or alcohol.  You may want to refer to your driving record and criminal records in searching for this information.  Please come to my office prepared with this information so that I can provide you will a complete and timely evaluation.
  2. Testing Instruments – When I meet with you I will ask you to complete a written test.  The purpose of this test is to help me determine a proper diagnosis.  I will provide your lawyer with a copy of the test so that he or she can forward it on to the department.
  3. Lifetime Treatment History for Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse – The only way for me to know about your treatment history is to learn about it from you.  The hearing officer will want to know about all the treatment you’ve completed, including in or out-patient treatment, and even driver intervention classes.  It will really help me help you if you come to my office prepared with this information.
  4. Lifetime Support Group History – If you’ve ever gone to AA or any other 12-step program, then such attendance or participation should be listed here.
  5. Diagnostic Impression – Based on my interview of you, your score on the test I give you, and my review of your letters and urinalysis, I will be diagnosing you.  I will then place this diagnosis on the form, along with the reasons for this diagnosis
  6. Client Prognosis – This is the section where I will indicate whether or not I believe that you will ever drive drunk again, and whether or not I believe you have any drug or alcohol addiction under control.  I take this part of the evaluation very seriously, and not everyone I see receives a good prognosis.  If you are not ready for a good prognosis, then I may tell your lawyer that you require more treatment or a longer sobriety period.  If this is true then you may want to discuss your options with your lawyer.
  7. Continuum of Care – If I think you need future treatment then I will state this in this section, along with the reasons I believe this to be true.
  8. Lifetime Relapse History – Like everything else, I will be relying on you to provide me with accurate information.  This information may or may not impact my prognosis.
  9. Analysis and Other Observations/Factors – If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol then it is often helpful to make lifestyle changes to support your sobriety.  If this is true in your case then I will include this information here, and describe why I think it is important to your case.

Before you come to see me, please be sure your lawyer has told me what kind of evaluation to prepare and for what purpose so that I can best meet your needs.  Also, my staff may provide you with questionnaires in advance of our meeting, or may request that you bring certain information with you.