In Maine, an alcohol-related driving crime will place a suspension on your driver’s license. You are must take DEEP before you can get your driver’s license back. DEEP is the Driver Education and Evaluation Program. A big part of DEEP is an anti-drunk driving message. This makes many clients see DEEP as drug counseling. This leads some clients to ask Can I skip DEEP if I do drug counseling instead?
The answer to the question (Can I skip DEEP if I do drug counseling instead?) is no. DEEP might seem like a rehabilitation program, but that is not their purpose. The purpose of DEEP is a bureaucratic hoop for you to jump through in order to get your driver’s license back. In other words, the purpose of DEEP is for you to complete the DEEP Course. Regardless of the circumstances of your charge, you still have to take the DEEP course itself.
The DEEP Process is three-fold
20-hour Weekend Education Course
In the 20-hour Weekend Education Course for DEEP, you sit in a classroom for anti-drunk driving education. During the course, you are surveyed on whether you might have a substance abuse issue. Your survey responses determine if you need to partake in formal substance abuse evaluation. If your survey answers show that you do not have a substance abuse problem, then your DEEP component is complete.
Formal Substance Abuse Evaluation
A referral to undergo a formal Substance Abuse Evaluation means you will have to see a licensed drug and alcohol counselor (LDAC). This evaluation is not drug counseling. A substance abuse evaluation is a special appointment, again where you answer questions about substance abuse. If your evaluation shows no significant substance abuse issues, then your DEEP component is complete.
Recommendation for Further Counseling
If your formal substance abuse evaluation shows that you might have a substance abuse issue, you will receive a referral to attend follow-up counseling sessions. This is the kind of counseling is similar to what most of us think of when we think of drug counseling. Drug counseling is designed to help the person overcome their issues. Only after you complete all required counseling sessions will your DEEP component be considered to be finished.
The Key Point
Regardless of where you land on the process, to complete your DEEP requirement, you need to complete your assignments. The State of Maine wants you to take the DEEP course in Maine, even if you have an out of State driver’s license. However, if you are from out of state, you may be able to complete DEEP through a local provider. Maine will need to agree and recognize their program, as DEEP compliant. Contact the Maine DEEP program at (207) 626-8600 to learn if the out of state program you are considering qualifies for DEEP purposes.
As a criminal defense attorney who has handled countless OUI cases, I always advise clients to get their DEEP requirement done as soon as possible. Not only will this put that part of the license reinstatement requirements behind them, but doing DEEP earlier will make it more likely that you will still have an active driver’s license while you have to get to and from counseling.
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