Substance Abuse Assessment Unit (SAAU)


The Substance Abuse Assessment Unit (SAAU) was implemented by the court in 1994 in an effort to assist the judges in assessing and referring defendants into appropriate programs that will assist them in completing their terms of probation.

The SAAU is staffed by addiction specialists qualified to assess and evaluate levels of addiction and determine appropriate levels of treatment.

The SAAU is located in the Criminal Division at the following locations:

  • Central Division

    1100 Union Street

    San Diego, CA 92101



  • North County Division

    325 S. Melrose Dr.

    Vista, CA 92081



  • South County Division

    500 Third Ave.

    Chula Vista, CA 91910



  • East County Division

    250 E. Main St.

    El Cajon, CA 92020



Questions regarding referral to the SAAU:

  • Who is referred to SAAU?

    A judge may refer a defendant to the SAAU for assessment and evaluation on any criminal case that may have been committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or for assurance that the defendant does not have a drug or alcohol problem.

  • How do I report to the SAAU?

    The SAAU is located in the Criminal Division of the Central Courthouse and the North County, East County and South County Courthouses. Visit the information booth or kiosk for directions to the unit.

  • What happens to me when I report to the SAAU?

    You will be given a questionnaire regarding current or past drug and alcohol use and treatment. You will talk to a qualified alcohol and drug assessor who will ask appropriate questions regarding alcohol and drug use, identify patterns of use and who will make an appropriate referral for treatment, if necessary.

How do I obtain an extension to enroll in or complete court-ordered programs?

You should appear in the Criminal Business Office Monday through Friday to seek extensions on any court-ordered probationary term.