A Texas alcohol evaluation is one of the three factors the courts use in deciding how to sentence a DWI. First, they evaluate the seriousness of the crime. If injuries or property damage were involved, your sentence will be much harsher than if you were only stopped for DWI. The second concern is how often you’ve committed the crime in the past. A prior conviction demonstrates a pattern of behavior that will lead to a stricter sentence. Finally, courts are beginning to look at the likelihood of you committing the crime in the future. If you are a high risk candidate, the courts hesitate to show leniency.
A Texas alcohol evaluation, known as a Standard Alcohol Evaluation, is the test used to determine future risk factors. An SAE program is a scientific examination of your personal history with alcohol and drugs. During the test a counselor will determine where you fall on the addiction spectrum, from no substance abuse problems to a severe addiction disorder.
Why should you take an SAE?
The courts want to see that you are sorry for breaking the law, and MORE importantly, that you are taking proactive steps to ensure that it never happens again. Your Texas alcohol evaluation shows the court that you want to do whatever it takes to avoid committing another DWI infraction.
How is the Texas alcohol evaluation conducted?
A Texas alcohol evaluation is an intensive interview that can last up to two hours, but is usually much shorter. When you sign up for an SAE, you are assigned a counselor who will dig into your relationship with alcohol or drugs. This person will look at your employment history to see if there is evidence of stable employment. They will discuss any psychological or emotional issues that place you at high risk for alcohol abuse or dependence. The exam may explore your family and friendship networks in an effort to find a support structure that can keep you from making the same mistake again.
What happens after a Texas alcohol evaluation?
After you complete the interview, the counselor will draft a profile of you and present it to your attorney on your behalf. The report may recommend additional treatment and counseling if the counselor determines you have a substance abuse problem, or it could tell the courts that your offense was a one time issue, and you are at low risk for a future offense. In either case, your attorney will use the information to tailor a sentence to your specific case. If it is a report we don’t want the State to see, we will withhold and work out any problems before we go to court.
When you’ve been charged with a DWI, you have to be active in your defense, and proactive in proving to the courts that a single arrest is not indicative of a pattern of drunk driving. An experienced DWI attorney will be able to walk you through the proper steps before, during and after your case goes before the courts, so you don’t suffer harsher penalties than needed. Call Gene R. Beaty at (972) 992-0234 today to discuss your situation.