Frequenty Asked Questions about Missouri’s Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Propgram

As an experienced DWI Lawyer who also served over 8 years as a Greene County Prosecutor, I receive many questions from clients about the Substance Abuse Traffice Offenders Program.  The program can be difficult to navigate and costly, so I educate my clients early and develop a plan for completion and for understanding their options for which classes they will most likely have to take.

Q: Why is it important to hire an attorney early?

A: SATOP in Springfield, MO and program requirements are complicated and can be expensive. Experienced DWI Lawyers can help you navigate the requirements as well as understand the appropriate service level you need to get your license back.

Q: What is the Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program and who runs it?

A: The program is a required step to reinstate their driver’s license that was taken away by the Court due to a traffic offense involving alcohol, drugs or a controlled substance. The program is run by the Division of Behavioral Health that is part of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.  There are approximately 60 agencies with about 200 different geographies in Missouri. The Division of Behavioral Health trains the staff and maintains the program. Only certified agencies meeting the requirements of the program may act as providers.

Q: Who must attend SATOP classes (Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program)?

A: It is required by Missouri law that ANYONE that is facing a DWI arrest must complete a test of their behavior involving alcohol and controlled substances as it relates to their driving behavior. The OMU (Offender Management Unit) is how offenders are evaluated and advised to the matching level of service based on certain variables set by the Department of Justice and a Qualified Substance Abuse Professional with the program.

Q: What is the process for determine which SATOP classes I will take?

A: The offender’s driving record, the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of the offender when he/she was arrested, an interview with the Qualified Substance Abuse Professional and the use of a screening tool provided by the department. The compliance of the offender is also observed and makes an impact on the recommendation. A report is submitted by the QSAP to the Dept. of Revenue and the offender pays a screening fee.

Q: How much is the screening fee? 

A: The screening fee is $126. The fee covers the service provided. There is also an additional fee of $249 that contributes to the Mental Health Earnings Fund that balances the cost for offenders who can’t afford the full cost of the services. Ask your attorney if you qualify.

Q: What are the classes and how much do they cost?

A: The following are current classes and costs:

  • Offender Education Program (OEP – Level I) – This course is for lower risk drivers that help attendees learn about the decisions that led to their arrest. The cost is $130.
  • Adolescent Diversion Education Program (ADEP – Level I) – This course is for children under the age of 18 who may have received a mandated offense for Abuse and Lose, MIP (Minor in Possession) or Zero Tolerance charge. The course is 10 hours and the cost is $130.
  • Weekend Intervention Program (WIP) – Level III – This course is intended for risky and repeat offenders. There is a much more in-depth curriculum and therapeutic intervention tactics within a restrictive atmosphere.  The course is 20 hours and the cost is $453.74. Offenders may be receive financial help based on socioeconomic variables, but will pay a minimum of $250.
  • Clinical Intervention Program (CIP – Level III) – This combines a counseling program made up of individual therapy, group therapy and group classes. The total class is 50 hours with 10 hours being dedicated to driving impairment. The cost is $1,005.91 Offenders may be receive financial help based on socioeconomic variables, but will pay a minimum of $250.
  • Youth Clinical Intervention Program (YCIP) – Level III) – This is a 25-hour in-depth program for youths with major problems with drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances. The cost is $490.20. Offenders may be receive financial help based on socioeconomic variables, but will pay a minimum of $250.
  • Serious and Repeat Offender Program (SROP – Level IV) – This combines a counseling program made up of outpatient individual therapy, group therapy and group classes that must occur within 90 days. The total cost of the class varies based on provider. Offenders may be receive financial help based on socioeconomic variables, but will pay a minimum of $250.
  • Traditional Treatment (Level IV) – Any offender that represents a potential for reoffending or may be at high risk of additional drug or alcohol related traffic violations may be given additional recommendations for treatment of drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances. These additional services vary and must be completed by a state-certified/nationally accredited treatment provider.
  • Note – Consumers presenting for Substance Abuse Traffice Offender Program services having multiple alcohol- or drug-related traffic offenses, or those at a high risk of reoffending, may receive a recommendation for more traditional substance abuse treatment.  This treatment may be in the form of a residential or outpatient program but must be completed at a state-certified or nationally accredited substance abuse treatment provider.  Fee: Varies.

Q: What is involved in the interview?

A: The interview comprises most of the report and is a required element of the final report.  The Qualified Professional may interview offenders about the Blood Alcohol Content at the time of the arrest, any previous treatments, socioeconomic challenges, family history, how offenders appear, etc.

 Q: When should I enroll in SATOP classes?

A: First, you need to hire an attorney and determine your defense strategy. Once you have hired a DWI lawyer, It is best for an offender to immediately enroll in the program to increase the likelihood that your license will be reinstated within the timeframe of the judgment and you can consult with your dwi attorney as things proceed. This also demonstrates you are taking your case seriously and can make a positive impact on the judge. Once screened, the offenders receive communication that the referral expires after 6 months from the original date of the interview.

Q: Can I get a 2nd opinion?

A: Offenders can ask for another opinion if they have a major conflict with the original screen. The offender will pay for the 2nd opinion at the usual price. After a complete review, the 2nd Offender Management Unit will become the new OMU if it is deemed as warranted.

Q: What is a Judicial Review?

A: In serious conflicts regarding the process, the offender may request their screen be reviewed by a judge. This must be initiated by the offender since it is outside of the criminal legal process (civil law). The QSAP may be requested to appear and outline his or her recommendation for the judge. Note:  Consult with your attorney before taking any of these actions.

Q: I’ve taken the program in the past. What are my options?

A: Sometimes, an agency may change or go out of business. Contact another provider in your area and inquire if they have your records. Your records could also be on file with The Division of Behavioral Health. They maintain a database since 1995 and retain records of complete participants. However, you are responsible for retaining paperwork, files and documentation resulting from a completed program. 

Q: Why is timing important?

A: Many people want to impact a positive resolution to their offense. It is smart to have a plan and address the program as your case proceeds.

Q: How do I protect my privacy?

A: Work with an attorney to complete the program while also reducing how public you need to be. Talk about various locations, times and other sensitive information that will help you maintain privacy.

If you require an experienced defense attorney, reach out to the team at MRD Lawyers. With 30 years experience litigating cases in the Greene County Court System, we are prepared to help you build a strong legal defense. Contact MRD Lawyers today.

For more Inside Tips about from an DWI Lawyer about this program, click here:

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