Tens of thousands of people die every year from car accidents in the United States alone according to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime that poses a grave risk to the individual under the influence and the public (both on and off the streets). Drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s judgment, delay their reaction time, inhibit their ability to control a vehicle and lead to injury and in many tragic cases, death. 

When someone is charged with a DWI, a DWI assessment is conducted; in some states, this assessment is also sometimes required as part of their license reinstatement process. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at DWI, answer the question of if there’s a difference between DUI and DWI, and break down what happens in a DWI assessment.

What is a DWI?

DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, and is a term used to describe someone who’s operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re wondering what the difference between DUI and DWI is — well, it all depends on where you live.

In some states, driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are legally considered the same thing, though one term might be used more than the other.

In other states, neither term is used and a state-created acronym takes its place. To potentially further complicate matters, some states recognize DWI and DUI as two separate violations, but the exact elements that differ from the other vary with each state.

When someone has been charged with a DWI, a DWI assessment is conducted.

What is a DWI assessment?

A DWI assessment is an interview-like evaluation conducted by a substance counselor for the purpose of determining the extent of the person’s substance use, and identifying how much that substance use influences their day-to-day activities, like driving.

The interview usually consists of questions surrounding the individual’s history of drug or alcohol use, if and what prescribed medications they regularly take, as well as if they’ve had any past legal or medical substance-related issues. Additional questions might be asked surrounding other areas of the person’s life in order for the counselor to better understand them.

The assessment is primarily used to determine whether or not the individual meets the criteria to be diagnosed with substance dependence or addiction. Depending on the results of the assessment, the counselor might suggest different recommended treatments, as well as offer ways to better manage substance use in the future.

What happens after a DWI assessment?

After the assessment has been conducted, the counselor usually provides a written report of the evaluation to the court, probation officer or licensing agency, depending on the circumstances.

If a substance dependence or addiction is indicated by the assessment, the person might be advised to participate in some sort of treatment program, such as outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation, substance use counseling or a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Additional educational programs might be recommended as well, such as online courses or programs that educate the learner about the dangers of combining substance use with driving. Then, depending on the severity of the offense and jurisdiction, the person may or may not be required to attend and complete the treatment to avoid additional legal consequences.

Speak with an advisor today

If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol disorder, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. When left untreated, substance use disorders can wreak havoc on a person’s health and life, and in the worst cases, lead to death.

We know it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin when it comes to seeking treatment, but you aren’t alone. Our team here at October Road cares deeply about helping you or your loved one not only achieve sobriety but maintain it in the long term.

Send us a message today or call us to speak with one of our advisors and learn more about which of our treatment services is the best fit for you.

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