Florida Forensic Addiction Counselor
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 legal system. 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 the addiction dependence in a family law case, to assist the court determination of child custody.
Working with Attorneys and the Courts on Alcohol or Drug Abuse Assessments
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.
DUI, Possession of Controlled Substance, Prescription Pills, and more…
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.
Evaluations for Addiction Dependence
Judges determining child custody 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 Forensic Addiction 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 requests the evaluation, the report should only be sent to that attorney because it is otherwise confidential.
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 third party releases before beginning the evaluation. Forensic Addiction Counselors perform a complete biopsychosocial history and prepare a report of their findings to be transmitted to designate 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 the custody of children. This is a responsibility that is not taken lightly by the objective Forensic Addiction Counselor. The Forensic Addiction Counselor prepares a report and formats the findings to transmit the findings of the assessment/evaluation. The report should address the personal history, medical and psychological history and assessment of chemical dependency history, conclusions and recommendations. Many Forensic Addiction Professionals will include a copy of their Curriculum Vitae with the report.