Lowering BAC Threshold for DWI

TASC and Substance Abuse Treatment in New York

March 27, 2019

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

If you’re charged with a drug crime or with a drug- or alcohol-related driving offense, your attorney may tell you to start seeing a counselor for treatment. Substance abuse counselors can identify if you have an abuse problem or if you’re suffering from addiction. Showing the judge and District Attorney that you’ve addressed your issues may help your attorney in resolving your case.


What is TASC?

TASC stands for Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities. It is an agency run by the state. TASC helps a judge or Court monitor whether a person is attending substance abuse treatment as required.

At the first meeting with TASC, you will be asked a series of questions to identify your treatment needs. You should be honest with the TASC representative about your drug and alcohol usage. TASC will then refer you to an OASAS-approved program to be assessed for treatment. OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) is a state agency which certifies treatment providers.

TASC will also ask you to sign a release so they can monitor your progress in treatment. They will receive updates about your attendance and compliance with your programs. TASC will also be advised of the results of toxicology reports. Thereafter, TASC will prepare a report that is sent to the Court for your next court date.

Sometimes, you may already be in treatment prior to meeting with TASC. If your counselor is OASAS-certified, TASC will ask you to sign a release so that they can speak with your current counselor. Further, TASC must work with your provider if they are OASAS certified.

“TASC services positively influence numerous offenders to acknowledge their substance abuse problems, undergo treatment and counseling, comply with terms and conditions of their release, and lead law-abiding lives. TASC programs provide essential support and coordination of service delivery to achieve successful reintegration of offenders to their respective communities.”

– NYS TASC Standards, May 2008

Do I Have to Go to Treatment?

If a judge tells you that you have to go to counseling, then you must go. Often times, a judge will make treatment a condition of bail. If you don’t abide by the judge’s order, the judge can put you in custody or could increase your bail.

Additionally, there are certain times where you must be evaluated by an OASAS-certified provider by law. For example, if you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated, your case cannot be resolved until you’ve been evaluated by a counselor to determine if you need treatment or not.

Finally, you can also go to counseling for other concerns. This includes as anger management, family-related issues, gambling, and sexual offending. Going to treatment and being successful with it can help your case. A District Attorney and a judge will look more favorably upon your case if you’re willing to address the issues which contributed to your arrest.