In the course of a career as a Forensic Addiction Counselor, an addiction professional may be called upon to perform an evaluation of a client for presentation to the court/ justice system. For those in Jacksonville it may require our doctor’s appearance to Duval County Court where we can provide expert testimony. Typically, these assessments are for individuals who are facing legal consequences for violations of criminal laws. There are also situations where the forensic addiction counselor may be asked to evaluate and assess addiction dependence (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.) in a family law case, to assist the court determination of child custody.
Criminal attorneys, family law attorneys, public defenders and other members of the legal system seek and employ the services of an expert in the field of addictions. The professional may be asked to perform an assessment and make treatment recommendations. On many occasions, the Forensic Addiction Counselor will be asked to testify as to the results of the professional’s findings.
Some of the crimes that are committed by clients with addictions are; DUI, DUI manslaughter, possession of illegal or controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute illegal substances, prescription fraud, burglary, assault, battery, domestic violence, rape, murder, etc. Non-violent and violent crimes are viewed differently by state and federal court systems and most crimes are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies of different degrees. In the course of conducting an evaluation of an individual who has committed a crime, the Forensic Addiction Counselor should be provided with the arrest report.
Judges determining child custody during divorce hearings can request that clients of family law attorneys submit to an evaluation for addiction dependence. On occasion, the judge may order this assessment from the bench. A Forensic Addiction Counselor would be considered a qualified person, in many jurisdictions, to perform such an evaluation. The counselor would report the results of the assessment to the Court directly or through the client’s attorney if the evaluation were court ordered. If an attorney only requests the evaluation, the report should only be sent to that attorney.
Where can you find a Forensic Addiction Counselor?
The Forensic Addiction Counselor can meet with the client at several different locations to conduct the assessment. Preferably, the client would come to the professional’s office. In some instances the Forensic Addiction Counselor may have to travel and meet with the client in jail or a hospital. It is imperative to have the individual to be assessed sign the necessary documentation to insure ethical and professional standards. Client confidentiality and pertinent third party releases must be signed before beginning the evaluation. Forensic Addiction Counselors perform a complete biopsychosocial history and prepare a report of their findings to be transmitted to designated parties.
The Forensic Addiction Counselor must carefully weigh the findings of the assessment knowing that it may be considered to determine sentencing, sentence mitigation and/or the custody of children. This is a responsibility that is not taken lightly by the objective professional. The Forensic Addiction Counselor prepares a report and formats the findings to transmit the finds of the assessment/evaluation. The report should address the personal history, medical and psychological history, assessment of the chemical dependency history, and conclusions and recommendations. Many Forensic Addiction Professionals will include a copy of their Curriculum Vitae with the report.
The Greenfield Center has reputable Forensic Addiction Counselors ready to help you or your loved ones. Contact Us now!