• COUNSELING IS IMPERATIVE WHEN CHARGED WITH DUI!

By: David Zwanetz, Esq

Any defendant facing charges for a Howard County DUI must take steps prior to appearing in the District or Circuit Court to get evaluated by a Maryland Certified Alcohol Treatment Center.  Most first time DUI offenders will be considered for a probation before judgment disposition, which serves to strike a guilty finding. However, the Judge’s and State’s Attorney’s decision making process will surely focus on the Defendant’s actions post charge and pre-sentence.  Getting involved in counseling voluntarily and contemporaneously with the date of offense is one major step in the right direction to a lenient disposition.

There are private organizations such as the Columbia Addictions Center, located at 5570 Sterrett Place, Suite 205, Columbia, Maryland, who will take swift action to properly evaluate and treat any alcohol or drug related issue. All Maryland treatment providers begin with an initial evaluation where standardized tests are given to place one in an abuse category.   The categories typically run from “social drinker” to “addict,” and based on the level or risk the provider will make a recommended course of treatment.  Generally a “social drinker” will be recommended to complete twelve hours of alcohol education while an “addict” can be requested to participate in open ended counseling.  Patients of any Maryland alcohol treatment provider can expect to be requested to submit to random urinalysis and to participate in both group and individual counseling.  Most treatment is done on weekly basis in an outpatient capacity. At times, however, an evaluation can revel a problem so grave that inpatient treatment is recommended.  Costs can range from $450.00 (for outpatient) – $3000.00 or more (for inpatient). Understandably, some cannot afford a premium private counseling center.  For those individuals, The Howard County Health Department’s Substance Abuse Service is a great option.  The Howard Health Department is the only publicly funded addictions, prevention and treatment program in Howard County that treats patients regardless of ability to pay. Fees for treatment at the Health Department are based on a sliding scale and the only requirement is residency in Howard County.  For non Howard County residence, each county in Maryland runs a similar service. If charged with and DUI in Howard County along with finding the right legal counsel, counseling should be a top priority.

This article was written by David Zwanetz, Esq., Associate Attorney at the law firm of Shapiro Zwanetz & Associates (SZA).  David Z. also trains and competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Baltimore MMA school, Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.