Notice: New Directions is changing our name to US Court Assessments. Rest assured, you'll get the same high quality assessment service.

If you suspect that someone you know might be struggling with substance abuse, it can be difficult to know where to begin. But getting started is the first step in getting help. And that starts with getting an assessment.

Court-ordered assessments are a way to get help for a friend or family member who seems to need it most. This can be a necessary step toward finding the proper treatment.

There are several ways to get a court-ordered assessment. One way is to ask your lawyer to request one on your behalf. Alternatively, you can file a motion with the court asking for an evaluation.

If you’re ready to get started, here are some key details you need to know about getting a court-ordered assessment.


What Is A Court-Ordered Assessment? 

A court-ordered assessment is a process by which a judge or other authority figures can petition for help for someone you know. It’s designed to help determine if someone may have an alcohol or drug problem.

This way, you can spring into action and help prevent someone from veering into drug or alcohol addiction. Once the court orders a drug and alcohol assessment, it becomes part of the criminal or juvenile case. This means that the assessment must be done by a professional who is approved by the state.


When Can You Get An Assessment? 

The court must order mental health evaluations if it decides that a person may have a mental disorder. The court can also order the assessment if it decides someone is a minor in need of supervision.

It can also order an assessment when someone is convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense. If the court decides that the person requesting the assessment is fit to make the request, it can turn it down.

When a judge or superior of the person with a substance abuse disorder makes the request, you can also ask for an order to have the individual admitted to a hospital or treatment center.

In this case, you don’t have to prove they have a substance use disorder. You have to show that they need help.

Who Can Order An Assessment? 

Only authorities can order a drug or alcohol assessment. They can order an assessment when a person is accused of a drug or alcohol-related offense.

Authorities can also order an assessment when the judge thinks a person is a minor in need of supervision. A judge can also order an assessment if someone is convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense.

The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) is a book that contains all the diagnosable mental disorders. It’s put out by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by health professionals worldwide.

The fourth edition of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule IV is a structured interview schedule that can be used to make diagnoses according to the criteria of the DSM-IV.

A risk reduction program helps people who have been convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense to stay out of trouble and live a sober life.

An addiction severity index is a scoring system that measures the severity of someone’s addiction on a scale of one to seven. The higher their score, the more severe their addiction is.

How Do You Request A Court-Ordered Assessment? 

If you think someone you know may need help, request a court-ordered assessment. This can be done in one of two ways: You can file papers with the court or take the papers to the court and have them plead guilty or no contest.

This means that you will be admitting the facts of the case as they are. Doing this will help the court make the assessment request. Once the court makes the assessment request, you must wait 90 days.

While the court can order someone to get help, it can’t force that person to do it. Once the 90 days have passed, you can request an emergency assessment. This is an assessment in the middle of an ongoing case. For example, if you or the person you know needs help is calling the police.

How To Prepare For A Court-Ordered Assessment 

Once you’ve requested a court-ordered drug assessment, there are some critical steps to follow to prepare for it. First, make sure that your friend or loved one is ready and willing to participate in the assessment process.

If they aren’t ready to go through with an assessment, you may need to take more time before requesting one. Once they are ready, help them gather information about their mental health history by providing medical records and having their psychologist or therapist fill out an evaluation form. This can be invaluable when it comes time to discuss the person’s needs during treatment.

Then, make sure that your friend or family member agrees with what’s written in these documents so that there are no surprises during the assessment. Finally, help your loved one find a reputable addiction specialist in their area who can provide an objective and unbiased evaluation.


Confer With Your Lawyer

The first step in getting a court-ordered assessment is to confer with your lawyer about your legal options.

If you do not have a lawyer, you should one who understands the details of state mental health laws and can help you navigate requesting an assessment through the courts.

Your lawyer may suggest filing a motion for an evaluation on your own or ask that they file it on your behalf.

Provide Evidence

The first step is to provide evidence. If you have been ordered by the court to attend a psychological evaluation, the court will likely request specific documentation be sent to the psychologist ahead of time.

This could include:

  • Court pleadings

  • Letters or emails between you and your attorney

  • Deposition testimony

  • A history of any criminal convictions or restraining orders

You will also be asked to complete a psychological questionnaire.

This will help the psychologist get to know you better and will also provide background information.

The psychologist will likely ask about your childhood, your education, your work history, your relationships, and any substance abuse or mental health problems you have had in the past.


Evaluations And Recommendations

After reviewing your evidence and questionnaire, the psychologist will complete an evaluation.

This will include a clinical interview, psychological testing, and a review of your records.

The psychologist will then make recommendations to the court.

These recommendations could include:

  • Whether you are competent to stand trial

  • Whether you are a danger to yourself or others

  • Whether you are likely to succeed on probation or parole

  • What kind of treatment you need

The psychologist may also be asked to testify in court about their findings.

If you have been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation, it is important to take the process seriously. The evaluation can have a significant impact on your case. If you have any questions about the evaluation process, you should talk to your attorney.

Can A Court-Ordered Assessment Save Someone’s Life? 

In some cases, a court-ordered assessment can help save the life of a person who is struggling with a mental illness. The assessment provides an objective evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and functioning, which can be invaluable in determining an appropriate treatment plan.

If the patient is found to require additional support or interventions, they may be involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for further evaluation and care. However, it is up to the individual to seek help and commit to recovery.


Can A Court-Ordered Assessment Tell You How To Help Someone Else? 

While a court-ordered assessment cannot tell you how to help someone else, it can provide valuable information about their mental health status and functioning. 

If a person chooses to share this information, it can be used by family members, friends, and other loved ones to understand the person’s needs better.


Why Should You Get A Court-Ordered Assessment? 

If you are facing charges, a court-ordered assessment can give you a chance to get ahead of the game and prepare for what's to come.


If someone you know is struggling with a mental illness and is unable to decide their treatment, getting a court-ordered assessment may be the first step towards accessing the help and support they need.
With proper guidance from mental health professionals and a commitment to recovery, individuals struggling with mental illness can regain control of their lives and begin feeling better.