Mr. P is a twenty-six-year-old single male charged with his fourth driving under the influence (DUI).
He was arrested while parked in his car in front of his apartment. His blood alcohol level was just over the
legal limit and he passed most of the sobriety tests given by the officer who arrested him. During the arrest, he stated that he had returned from a
going-away party for a friend and was so tired he fell asleep in his car before he was able to make it into his apartment. He admitted to drinking that
evening but denied with certainty that he was intoxicated. His story was convincing to the officer, but his previous history of DUIs warranted the arrest.
Mr. P was pleasant and cooperative during the arrest and was taken into custody without incident. He was released the next day with a court date. He
obtained legal defense and faced the judge with both fear that he would be incarcerated and confidence that he had a defensible case. Much to his surprise,
the judge imposed a harsh sentence—ninety-day substance use treatment—at the corrections facility. Mr. P has never been incarcerated and faces losing his
job if he spends ninety days in treatment. The judge did not show him any leniency or take into consideration his position in the community, his clean
criminal background, or the eight-year time span between his last and present DUI charges. Mr. P disclosed to his lawyer that his father was an alcoholic
and that there is a long history of alcohol and drug abuse in his family. He also indicated that his mother was schizophrenic and he was responsible for
much of her care during his formative years. He became a successful operations manager for a software engineering company at an early age and is on the
fast track to becoming a shareholder within the next two years if he maintains a clear record and follows company policy. He admitted to a bout of
depression in college following the placement of his mother in a nursing home. He denied a history of depression prior to that point in time but admitted
that his past circumstances likely made him susceptible to emotional difficulty. He began drinking at fourteen years of age to deal with the stress of his
mother’s illness and his responsibility for her. His use increased during the one year in college when he was depressed. He received the initial two of his
three previous DUIs on campus that year. His third DUI was the result of driving home after having a drink to celebrate passing a difficult examination.
The police in his college town were known to make a high number of drunken driving arrests that were rarely fought in court. He believes that he was simply
prey for the police and denied he was irresponsible with drinking and driving. Mr. P admitted to recent work stress that likely threatened his position and
future with the company. He denied feeling depressed or the urge to use alcohol to reduce his stress.
Mr. P has been depressed and used alcohol excessively in the past when he faced stress and difficulty.
He also denies the seriousness of the charges against him. Determine what type of forensic assessment would be most appropriate for this case and discuss
the rationale for your decision.
Your choices are:
• Competency to stand trial
• Substance abuse evaluation
• Not guilty by reason of insanity