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DUI Evaluation & Risk Education Programs

When you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Illinois, and you get caught, you're required to move through an evaluation. You'll meet with a licensed, qualified counselor who will determine what happened at the time, as well as your risk of doing the same thing in the future.

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At the end of the evaluation, the counselor will tell the court the results. That will determine what sort of penalty the state can impose.

Be aware that the consequences can be severe. Sometimes, they can change your life permanently.

You can’t opt out of this program. But you can learn a lot from it.

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And if you have a problem with drinking or drugs, you can get help now, before your habits put you in trouble with the law.

Getting Help at Footprints to Recovery

An interview with Dr. Stacy Lott, PsyD CADC, Regional Director of Operations at Footprints to Recovery

What is DUI risk education?

In Illinois, a DUI (driving under the influence) offense covers all types of impaired driving, from driving drunk to driving while under the influence of drugs (whether prescribed, abused, or illegal). If your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you are legally drunk and it is illegal for you to drive. However, if you are driving with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%, you may still be cited for a DUI if your behavior suggests you are impaired. This is at the discretion of the officer citing you. Even with a BAC below the legal limit, you are still far more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than if you didn’t consume any alcohol.

If you are cited for the above offenses and referred to Footprints to Recovery by the criminal justice system, you will complete an assessment to determine risk level and classification. The results help determine treatment planning. DUI risk education takes place in a group setting with small groups. The focus of the drug risk education group is mainly placed on the legal ramifications of a DUI arrest, the influence of alcohol and drugs on the family and the body, information on drugs and alcohol and its effect both on physical health, mental health, and family. The goals of DUI risk education classes is to educate the offender and decrease the probability of another DUI offense.

Why is it important?

Change is hard.  Often times, we lack insight to see that change is needed.  When our actions begin to harm others and/or put others at risk, the criminal justice system may step in.  The justice system refers persons who are struggling in this area to receive assessments and some form of treatment to potentially reduce the chances of the continued destructive behaviors.  Competent healthcare providers and treatment is important in increasing insight, learning ways to change and increasing the chances for success.  At Footprints to Recovery, a licensed and DUI certified clinician will provide an assessment to determine the level of intensity needed for treatment

Although some DUI offenders may be low to moderate risk and see success with education, some DUI offender are not only high risk but also high need. This means that not only has the threat of punishment failed to make a dent in their behavior, but they may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Interventions proven to work for this population blend treatment with supervision in a closely-knit, multidisciplinary program.

Where is it offered?

Beginning 11/1, we will be offering DUI assessments at the Arlington Heights facility from 4:30- 9:00 PM with our last assessment at 7 PM.  Assessments take approximately 2 hours.  When arriving to their assessments, the person being assessed must bring all required court documents in order to complete their assessment.  The goal is to begin Basic Education groups on Thursdays from 6:30 PM- 8:30 PM beginning 11/1.  This is partially dependent on how many assessments we can set-up prior to start date so that we have more than one person in the group.  Ultimate goal is to begin offering services on Tuesdays as well with the same set-up as Thursdays.  Assessments can be paid for with cash, check, and/or credit card (with fees).  Price list will be forthcoming. If higher levels of care are required, we offer OP and IOP at the AH facility to accommodate this.  We have convenient AM and PM hours.  PM hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9 PM.

Why Does Illinois Have This Law?

About 11 percent of Americans admit to driving under the influence of alcohol at least once, experts say.

Every time you make that decision, you put your health and the health of others at risk. That’s true whether you believe you’re impaired or not.

Alcohol is a drug that can alter:
  • Reaction times.
  • Decision-making abilities,
  • Stimulus sensitivity.
  • Impulsivity.

At the same time, alcohol boosts production of brain chemicals that make us feel safe, secure, and in control. Take in too much, and it’s almost impossible to feel like driving is a bad idea.

Legislators hope that strict laws change your mind.

DUI laws like the one in Illinois come with stiff consequences for each decision to slide behind the wheel while drunk. And in Illinois, legislators tacked on penalties that they hope will encourage people to change their ways after a relatively minor first offense.

How the Program Works

When you’re arrested for DUI, you’re ordered to move through an evaluation and education program. It must be completed before you can be sentenced, and you may not be able to drive at all until you finish the work.

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The Illinois Department of Human Services says counselors evaluate the following things as part of the program:
  • Your driving history: Is this your first offense? Or have you been arrested for DUI in the past?
  • Your lab test results: How high was your blood alcohol level when you were arrested?
  • Your field test results: Did you slur your words or lose your balance while being tested by police officers?
  • Your interview: The counselor will ask about your relationship with drugs and alcohol.

Your counselor will have copies of your arrest record, lab tests, and objective tests. Lying won’t help you, as your counselor can check your answers.

At the end of this process, your counselor can place you into one of four categories:
  • Minimal risk: It’s not likely you’ll drive like this again. But you’ll be asked to complete at least 10 hours of risk-education coursework.
  • Moderate risk: You might make this mistake again. You’ll need at least 10 hours of risk-education coursework and 12 hours of counseling. You’ll need to do that work within about four weeks.
  • Significant risk: Without additional help, you’re likely to drive under the influence again. You’ll need at least 10 hours of risk-education coursework, and you’ll need at least 20 hours of substance abuse treatment.
  • High risk: You’ll need help to avoid another DUI conviction. You’ll need at least 75 hours of substance abuse treatment.
We Can Discuss What Treatment Looks Like
You have the right to pull out of the process, and you can ask for another opinion if you disagree with the first test results.

Does the Law Work?

Illinois enacted its first DUI laws in 1997. Since that time, the number of people who have died due to drunk drivers has dropped dramatically.

The Herald News reports that deaths from drunk driving in Illinois dropped by 43 percent between 1997 and 2015. This seems to suggest that people do respond to the penalties involved with the law, and the streets are a lot safer as a result.

But you don’t need to wait to get arrested to get the help you need. You can, and you should, reach out for help if you find it’s too tempting to drive home after an evening of cocktails.

Treatment teams can help you dig into the cause of your drinking or substance abuse. And together, you can come up with strategies to make the drinking stop for good.

Don’t wait for the law to prompt a change. Be that change for yourself and your family.

If you would like to learn about your local Footprints to Recovery center,
please view help finding a drug rehabilitation center in Illinois.

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