DWI Substance Use Assessment in North Carolina

DWI Substance Use Assessment

We are proud to offer DWI assessments both online and in-person for those who live in NC and who also received a DWI in NC. 

What to Expect

A DWI Substance Use Assessment is required of everyone who is convicted of Driving While Impaired in the state of North Carolina. You can not receive a Limited Driving Privilege without a DWI Assessment. DWI and Substance Use assessments and groups can only be conducted by facilities licensed by the state of North Carolina to meet requirements to restore your driver’s license.

A DWI Substance Use Assessment is an alcohol and drug use assessment consisting of an interview by a Licensed or Certified Substance Use Counselor and a structured assessment questionnaire to a person’s relationship with alcohol and/or drugs.

First Step Services, LLC is fully licensed by NC DWI Services and will assist you with your assessment in a professional, confidential and timely manner.  First Step will often complete an assessment within 24-48 hours of when you call to request an appointment.


Why Get Your DWI Assessment Done as Soon as Possible?

  • In NC, a  DWI assessment is usually required prior to receiving a Limited Driving Privilege; it is always required to receive the privilege 10 days into the 30 day civil revocation.
  • Shorten the period of time you can’t drive during your “Civil Revocation.”
  • A DWI Assessment is a Mitigating Factor during your trial and can reduce the level of punishment, possibly helping avoid active jail time.
  • Know in advance where you stand with your DWI Substance Use requirements.

What We Need from You to Complete the DWI Assessment

The cost of NC DWI Assessments is a state-mandated fee of $100. This fee must be paid at the time of scheduling your appointment.
  1. NC Driving Record (within the last 30 days) – non-certified lifetime copy can be obtained online at: https://payments.ncdot.gov/auth
  2. Breathalyzer/Blood Draw/BAC*
  3. Citation*
  4. Any other legal documents
  5. Photo ID
  6. Front & Back of Insurance Card
*If you do not have these, please contact your attorney, or the Clerk of Courts in the county you received the DWI and they should be able to provide them for you.

If you live in another state and received an NC DWI, First Step can help you with your assessment and classes or counseling without you having to return to North Carolina. With our help, you can meet all the requirements by receiving services in the area in which you live.

“I came to First Step because I was arrested for a 2nd DWI. At first, I believed the program to be another ‘jump through the hoops’ program that forced sobriety and life changes on the individual needing treatment. After a few sessions, I had completely changed my mind. I noticed how the services provided focused on empowerment and group discussion and NOT as I believed on the ‘carrot and stick’ treatment. This helped me to see what lay clearly before me, a route out of the ‘cycle of abuse’ that I had developed. Through guided sessions and open discussions, I learned many ways to avoid the pitfalls of relapse. I can truly say that this treatment has changed my outlook on life. For the better!” Anonymous group program participant

What are the Possible DWI Assessment Outcomes?

These placement requirements set by the NC DHHS DWI Services and must be followed by licensed DWI providers in the State of NC. Assessments are only valid for 6 months.

North Carolina law dictates that there are five placement levels for DWI substance use treatment and education. There are a minimum number of contact hours, time in group or class, and minimum lengths of time a person must be involved for DWI and <21 driving after consuming convictions.

Level I-DWI Education (Alcohol & Drug Education Traffic School)

  • First DUI/DWI conviction (total lifetime)
  • Arrest BAC of 0.14 or less
  • Did not refuse breath test
  • Has no Substance Use Disorder diagnosis as determined by ASAM (American Society of Addictions Medicine) upon completion of comprehensive alcohol and drug use evaluation
  • Must be a minimum of 16 contact hours completed in no less than 5 sessions

Level II-DWI Short-term Treatment

  • Previous DUI/DWI conviction (total lifetime)
  • Arrest BAC of 0.15 or greater
  • Breath test refusal
  • Meets criteria for DSM-V Substance Use Disorder, Mild Diagnosis

Level III-DWI Long-term Treatment

  • Meets criteria for DSM-V Substance Use Disorder, Moderate Diagnosis
  • Meets Level I ASAM program placement criteria
  • Minimum of 40 but less than 89 contact hours, minimum of 60 days duration

Level IV-Intensive Outpatient Treatment

  • Meets criteria for DSM-V Substance Use Disorder, Moderate to Severe Diagnosis
  • Meets Level II ASAM program placement criteria
  • Minimum of 90 contact hours, minimum of 90 days duration
  • According to Health Insurance, the State of NC, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and NC DWI Services, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) requires groups to be scheduled at least 3 sessions, 3 hours each for a total of 9 hours per week in treatment. This program may be preceded by a brief inpatient stay for detoxification or stabilization of a medical or psychiatric condition

Level V-Inpatient/Residential Treatment

  • DSM-V diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder, Severe
  • Upon discharge from inpatient treatment, a person is required by the State of NC to enroll in an approved continuing care or outpatient program to meet the 90-day time frame. There should not be any significant period of time between inpatient or residential treatment and beginning the 90 days follow up. There should also be no resumption of alcohol or drug use, even in small amounts prior to the 90 day follow up. If there is more than a couple of weeks between residential treatment and beginning the follow-up or there has been any substance use, the DWI client will likely have to begin a new treatment program

“This treatment was a required process by the state to return my license after DUI suspension. I enjoyed explaining my thoughts to everyone. It was nice to have a group of listeners to give feedback on my thoughts. Sometimes it can bring clarity to a situation just to express it out loud. I needed the introspection on my relationships, stress levels, goals, and weaknesses. I think if I keep these things in mind I will be a stronger person moving forward.” Anonymous DWI Program graduate


Does my assessment expire?

State of NC rules require that a substance use assessment is valid for only 6 months. Counseling or ADETS must be started within 6 months from the date of the assessment or a new assessment is required by the State.

I completed my courses but can’t get my completion paperwork?

Completion paperwork and reports are not final until all fees are paid. Payment can be made through the patient portal or by calling our office at 919-833-8899.

I paid my fees and can’t get my driver’s license restored?

DWI assessment & counseling agencies have no means of knowing when a case is resolved in court, whether conviction or dismissal. It is up to the client to notify us of the conviction date, as unfortunately the drivers license cannot be restored until that time.

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Affordable Alcohol & Drug Assessments


Our self-pay rates will soon be updated. Please contact our staff for more information.