There are several goals on which a criminal defense advocate focuses when helping someone charged with drunk driving. They include making sure the defendant’s rights are protected throughout a thorough investigation of the circumstances involved in the arrest. Depending on a variety of factors, some arrests result in exoneration, while others result in conviction.

When a driver in Wisconsin is convicted of an offense related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, he or she will be assessed through a state government interview process. This is known as the Intoxicated Driver Program. This evaluation is made through an alcohol or drug abuse assessor interview wherein the driver’s alcohol or drug use, including prescription medication, is identified, and a driver safety plan is developed for the individual.

Within 72 hours of a conviction, a defendant must contact the approved assessment facility for his or her county of residence. An assessment is required within 45 days for anyone with multiple OWI arrests or convictions. Second and subsequent OWI convictions require the assessment before eligibility for an occupation license is approved. Any person may voluntarily submit to an assessment.

In our county, the agency designated, licensed and certified to provide intoxicated driver assessment is the Eau Claire Community Program. The applicant will meet with a trained alcohol or drug abuse assessor and be asked questions about intoxicating substance use. The information is strictly confidential. The assessor will determine what level of care is needed, crafting a safety plan designed to help reduce the threat of repeat violations. This may include counseling or an education referral.

When the assessment is complete, paperwork is provided that allows a reinstatement of license application to be filed once other requirements are met. Proof of insurance for drivers with OWI convictions must be obtained. Also, any fines must be paid, and suspension time served.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “Alcohol and Drug Assessment,” accessed April. 01, 2015