03/03/13 — Wayne County gets new facility to help people move past DWIs

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Wayne County gets new facility to help people move past DWIs

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on March 3, 2013 1:50 AM

When anyone in Wayne County gets a DWI, they will, at some point, end up at an assessment and treatment facility.

One of the newest facilities here is Advanced DWI Services.

"We provide assessments and counseling services for individuals who've received DWIs," said clinical director David Lester. "It's a requirement for the Department of Motor Vehicles to complete some type of training or classes in order to get eligibility for a driver's license back."

A person will end up at such a facility through one of three ways. An attorney might recommend that the person getting the DWI go to assessment and treatment before his court date to show the judge that he's cooperating. Or the person may get the conviction and the judge order him to go to assessment and treatment.

Then there are some who don't go, but when it's time for them to get their license back, the Department of Motor Vehicles will require an assessment before reissuing the license.

Eventually, everyone who's been caught drinking and driving will have to get an assessment, Lester said.

Even if you are a first-time offender, he said, you will lose your driver's license for a year. But after an assessment, you may be eligible for a provisional license that will let you drive just to work.

"An assessment is an overall evaluation, a clinical assessment," he said. "It's a one-on-one interview assessing your alcohol history, your family history, your driving history and your legal history -- all the things that might be pertinent to determining if you have a problem with alcohol or not."

After that, Lester would make a recommendation as to whether you would go to a short-term or long-term program.

"The state has five levels of treatment that you might end up going to, ranging from a short educational program to inpatient treatment," Lester said.

Classes at Advanced DWI Services are held four hours once a week for six to 10 weeks.

"We teach about the disease concept of addiction, North Carolina drinking and driving laws, effects of alcoholism on the family and legal aspects," Lester said. "So they see the role that alcohol plays in their lives.

"Most people who come with a DWI don't mention alcohol as the reason they got it. They will tell you they were speeding, ran a red light or they might have swerved. Very seldom will they start out with they'd been drinking. They have to protect that need to drink."

Lester said he's here to help people through the process so they can get their driving privileges back, and also minimize the risk that they might drink and drive again.

"One of my goals is to also bring the cost of treatment down to the state average," he said. "Right now it's higher than the state average."

Advanced DWI Services is located at 1021 N. Berkeley Blvd.

It's open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Group classes are also held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The phone number is 919-759-0192 and the website is advanceddwiservices.com.