The Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) was established by the Virginia legislature to provide alcohol courses and programs for persons convicted of a DWI (Driving motor vehicle, engine, etc., while intoxicated).
As a condition of probation and to obtain a restricted license, a person convicted of a DWI must enter into and successfully complete ASAP. Although a court may decline to order participation in ASAP if the assessment by ASAP indicates that intervention is not appropriate for such person, it almost never happens in the Northern Virginia courts. Nevertheless, a pre-court evaluation by ASAP can be a valuable tool in certain cases.
While an ASAP evaluation normally takes place after a conviction of a DWI, Fairfax ASAP offers a pre-court evaluation service. Someone who is charged with a DWI and who took a blood or breath test indicating a high level of alcohol may wish to obtain a pre-court evaluation. In cases of high blood alcohol levels a judge may require an ASAP evaluation before issuing a restricted license. A pre-court evaluation which indicates that the accused does not have a serious alcohol problem and will not be a danger on the road may enable this person to obtain a restricted license at the first court hearing. Since an ASAP evaluation in Fairfax County can take 6 weeks or more to obtain, a pre-court evaluation may save a person from a substantial period of time without a driver’s license.
An appointment for a pre-court evaluation must be made at least several weeks prior to the court date. The evaluation interview is conducted in a group setting and takes approximately three hours. The pre-court evaluation report contains a demographic statement, offense history, alcohol and drug history, recommendations for program requirements and a risk assessment. A copy of the pre-court evaluation report is sent to the court, the defendant’s attorney and the client.
Although a good evaluation can be very helpful, a bad report can be devastating to the attempt to obtain a positive result in court. Because the report generally contains information about the drinking behavior of the accused on the day of the charge, a decision to obtain the pre-court evaluation should be made in consultation with an experienced DWI lawyer. This lawyer can also advise the client on how to properly conduct oneself during the interview.