Interviewer: Is SATOP an acronym? What does that mean?
Kevin Roach: SATOP stands for the Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program
Interviewer: Can we just briefly go into the different levels of the program and what’s required of somebody?
Kevin Roach: Okay. In SATOP, or the Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program, there are four levels. The first level, Level I, is the OEP, or Offender Education Program. It’s a ten-hour class. Typically, people will do five hours on a Saturday, five hours on a Sunday.
The second level is the Weekend Intervention Program, or WIP. This is an intensive 48-hour program. The costs are more for this program. Typically, you stay the night in a hotel and do group counseling over the weekend.
The third level is the Clinical Intervention Program, or CIP. This is 50 hours of outpatient substance abuse treatment. It’s pretty expensive. It’s over $1,000 for this program, but there is some financial assistance based on your income and other factors.
The fourth and final level of SATOP is just called Level V treatment. It consists of 75 hours of treatment, which has to be done in no fewer than 90 days. There’s a fee for this program of $1,500.
Interviewer: As part of your defense, do you try to get people’s program requirement level knocked down? Is that something you’ve been able to do?
Kevin Roach: Yeah. When people come into my office, I give them advice before they go in to do the screening, because what they’ll do in the screening is they’ll ask you certain questions and there are certain things that they’ll red flag. For instance, if you have a history in your family of drug or alcohol problems, they’ll ask you. For instance, say your brother had some issues with drugs or alcohol; they will red flag you if you are honest with them and tell them, “Yeah, my brother had an alcohol problem.” They think it’s genetic and they will think that you are predisposed to having issues just like your brother.
What I do is I’ll go through issues like that with my clients and kind of coach them on how to answer these questions, which a lot of times will prevent them from getting the higher-level programs.
Interviewer: Some would say you shouldn’t coach them because it isn’t right, but the inferences that the program is drawing with questions like that aren’t right either.
Kevin Roach: No, it’s not. And they’re revenue-driven. These programs are run by the state, and what they’re doing is they’re trying to fill up these upper-level classes, so they’re looking for things. That’s their job. It’s my job to give my clients a heads-up on how to answer some of these questions.
Interviewer: This screening interview will slot you in the level of program. What other factors will tend to push you up to the higher-level programs?
Kevin Roach: In Missouri, you can’t repeat the same class twice. For instance, if you had a first offense and you did Level I OEP, you can’t do a Level I again, so you automatically have to do Level II or possibly Level III. Prior offenses are the number-one thing that drives you into the upper-level classes.
The other thing that we mentioned previously was high BAC. If you have, for instance, a 0.25 BAC, it may be your first offense but that is, according to the state, indicative of you having an alcohol problem. If you could still function and have your BAC that high, they think that you must be a heavy drinker and you need extra help, so they’re going to put you into a Level III automatically, even though you haven’t had any priors.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!