Best OWI Lawyer Options Series: Do I have to get a substance abuse evaluation?

Updated: May 31

Linn County Courthouse

Once arrested and released from jail on an OWI (DUI) charge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, or other Iowa community, a defendant will be faced with multiple questions about what comes next. Something that will spring immediately to mind-- because it is a pretrial release condition-- is a substance abuse evaluation from a certified substance abuse counselor, or, CSAC.

Some arrestees find it unfair that they would have to obtain a substance abuse evaluation before a plea agreement or trial on the merits. After all, they aren't guilty unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But already the court is treating them as if they have a drinking or other substance abuse problem. Technically, that's true.

In Linn County, Iowa, which includes Cedar Rapids, Sixth Judicial District Court and District Associate Court judges will impose upon an OWI (DUI) defendant the special release condition that they obtain a substance abuse evaluation and have the provider file their work product with the Iowa Electronic Data Management System, or, EDMS, electronic docket sheet within 30 days of release.

Of course, the Court has made it clear that those who disagree with this requirement have another option: remain in jail. Not palatable after a night in holding after an OWI arrest. Your choices of provider are limited to those approved by the State of Iowa. An updated list of such providers is located here.

In Johnson County, the time frame is accelerated as of the time of this writing. You must obtain and have on file documentation of completion of a substance abuse evaluation within 10 days of your release. The Johnson County Attorney contracts with a substance abuse evaluator to provide evaluations to those who the court suspects will be appointed a public defender before they are released from jail. If you applied for court appointed counsel when you appeared before the magistrate or judge in Johnson County, jail administrators may ask that you cooperate with a substance abuse evaluation before you are released.

If you or a loved one have been arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, or other Iowa community for Operating While Intoxicated, or, OWI (DUI), contact us for a free initial consultation. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to a lawyer over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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