How to prepare for a substance abuse evaluation

Substance Abuse Evaluation

A properly prepared substance abuse evaluation can make or break your case

In order to have your driving privileges restored, it’s imperative that properly prepared evidence is submitted to the hearing officers. A substance abuse evaluation (SAE) is mandatory, therefore it’s obvious that the hearing officers rely heavily on the information it contains. This evaluation is the pivotal piece of information that everything else revolves around. Your letters of support, attorney’s examination questions and very own testimony are all based on the information contained in the evaluation. Making sure that a qualified substance abuse counselor properly completes the evaluation is your key to success.

P.L.A.N accordingly!

The substance abuse evaluation is probably the single most important piece of evidence you are required to submit.  Turning in a poorly done evaluation can lose your case for you before you even step foot into the hearing room.  The key to receiving a proper evaluation is to make sure you spend enough time with your evaluator so that he or she will get a clear picture of who you were in the past and who you are today.

Simply reiterating a list of conviction dates and your treatment history, while necessary and important, is never enough.

Prior Orders

If you have ever been to a hearing in the past you will want to give your order whether it’s granting or denying your appeal to your evaluator.  Often times the order will indicate several issues of concern that the hearing officer wants discussed and then addressed in the evaluation.


Ignition interlock logs should also be given to your evaluator.  If there are any violations or even alcohol readings that did not cause a violation your evaluator should address it.  It is especially important if your interlock logs contain alcohol readings.  You should explain each incident to your evaluator.  Be specific.  Where were you when the violation occurred?  What were you doing? Do you have any evidence to support your story?  Simply discussing it with your evaluator and having that notated on the evaluation is a step in the right direction.  It shows the hearing officers that you are 100% forthcoming and this is what you want.  It builds your credibility and it builds the credibility of the evaluator when giving you a diagnosis.

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Abstinence History

It is incredibly important that your evaluator understands your abstinence history.  Notating any relapses and discussing why “this” time will be different is something the hearing officers are always looking for.  If you testify to a period of abstinence that isn’t on your SAE, it will make the hearing officers skeptical that your substance abuse problem is likely to remain under control.

Note from your doctor

If you are taking any sort of medication you will need a note from your doctor. Typically the note is put on an approved form from the Secretary of State called a physician statement of examination.  If you are submitting a note from your doctor, it is imperative that your substance use evaluator review it and discuss it in his evaluation. The hearing officer will want to know that your excellent prognosis is really excellent and if you don’t mention that you are taking medication or being treated by a doctor to your evaluator how could he or she really know how you are doing?

Getting all of this information into your evaluation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a qualified substance abuse counselor and some guidance from your attorney you can make sure that all of these issues are easily covered. If you P.L.A.N accordingly you should be on the road to success.

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If you or a loved one are seeking restoration of driving privileges in the Oakland, Macomb, or Wayne county area call the driver’s  license restoration experts at the Law Office of Barton Morris today.

Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 19 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.

Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.

Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013 & 2014 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2017 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”

July 14th, 2015|