Chapter 8 - Enrolling in DUI Classes

 

What are DUI Classes?

 

DUI classes are alcohol or drug courses designed to educate DUI offenders about the negative consequences of substance abuse, and in so doing, prevent them from reoffending. They are imposed on DUI offenders by the court following a DUI conviction as part of the terms of their parole. Your state Motor Vehicle Department will also require proof that you have enrolled or completed a drug/alcohol class before reissuing your license.

 

 

What do the Classes Teach?

 

A typical alcohol/drug course aimed at DUI offenders will cover some or all of the following topics:

 

  • Problems and Patterns of Alcohol Abuse
  • Problems and Patterns of Other Drugs
  • History of Alcohol: Past & Present
  • The High Cost of Alcohol Abuse
  • Drunken Driving – The Consequences
  • Risk and Consequences of Alcohol and Drug Use
  • Special Health Factors Associated With Underage Alcohol Consumption
  • Understanding How Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Mind and Body
  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse — Are you Affected?
  • How do the Patterns and Risk Factors for Alcohol and Drugs Relate to You?
  • Risks for Relapse or Reoffense
  • Skills in Managing Stress and Emotions
  • Stages of Change
  • Communication and Relationships as a Foundation for Recovery and Prevention
  • Relapse Prevention

 

How much do Classes Cost?

 

Courses can range from $100 - $3000 depending on whether you have been ordered to take a first-time offender course, or a repeat offender one. If your county allows online courses, these are often a great deal cheaper because they require much less overhead than a traditional in-person class.

 

Does the Class I Enroll in Have to be Court-Approved?

 

Yes. You should check with your State’s government or Motor Vehicle Department web site or your parole officer to get a list of accepted courses in your area.

 

Can I take Classes Online?

 

It depends on the county in which you were charged. You should check with your State’s government or Motor Vehicle Department web site or your parole officer to get a list of accepted courses in your area, and whether online courses are approved.

 

What is a Drug/Alcohol Assessment?

 

Typically after a DUI conviction, you will be required to attend a drug/alcohol assessment with a practitioner in this field. The court will frequently decide the duration and intensity of the course you are required to attend based on the practitioner’s assessment, and may substitute psychological counseling in lieu of drug/alcohol classes if it is determined that you are suffering from mental illness or serious emotional issues, for example, and these were a leading factor in you committing a DUI.

 

How Many Classes Will I Need to Attend?

 

This is largely dependent on the course you have selected to take, although the court may stipulate that you must complete at minimum a certain number of hours. How many hours’ worth of classes you need to attend depends on a number of factors:

 

The level of alcohol you had in your system at the time of arrest

  • Higher levels (over .15 BAC) will typically lead to a greater number of classes

 

Was it a first-time or repeat offense?

  • Repeat offenders will typically have to do more classes, or more intensive classes focusing on different topics

 

The county and State in which you were arrested?

  • Your county or state may will likely have a minimum mandatory sentencing range that the judge will use in order to decide how many classes you are required to take based on the above

 

How Long do Courses Take to Complete?

 

Once you have determined which courses are approved by your court, you can choose a program that best meets your scheduling requirements. Some courses may be completed in one or two day sessions, where you attend for 8 hours a day. Others may be a couple of hours a week, once a week, spread over several weeks. Others may be completed online at your own pace.

 

Will I need to sit an Exam?

 

Generally you will not have to sit an exam based on what you have learnt in class. However, your parole officer may give you a form to be signed off by the course instructor in which they will evaluate your participation level during the class. If your participation level was not satisfactory, you may be required to attend more hours of classes, and therefore risk having your parole and driver’s license suspension period extended. Therefore, sitting at the back of the class and watching the clock is not in your best interest.

 

What Happens If I Miss a Class?

 

You should find out the correct procedure for reporting an absence from your parole officer. Even if you have a good reason for not attending, you will need to make up the time missed, and this could therefore lead to increased parole time and license suspension. If you repeatedly miss classes, you could be found to be in violation of your parole terms, in which case you will be asked to appear in court and could be sent to jail.

 

Am I Allowed to Drive to Classes with a Suspended License?

 

You may be allowed to drive to court-imposed alcohol classes with a Temporary Restricted License (TRL). See here for more information on obtaining a TRL.

 

Can I Attend AA/NA Instead of Paying for a Class?

 

No. If you have been ordered by the court to take a drug/alcohol class, then attending AA or NA meetings will not count toward this. You may be required by the court to attend a certain number of hours’ worth of AA or NA in addition to attending a drug/class, and you will need to have the meeting convener sign a form stating that you did in fact intend the meeting.

 

What should I do If I cannot afford a Drug/Alcohol Class?

 

Check with your insurance provider if they cover any drug/alcohol classes. Then check with your state DMV or Parole Officer as to whether these are acceptable. You also may be eligible to attend a state-run program if you can prove you are low-income, but you should make sure that these courses are accepted by the court before attending – just because they are state run does not mean that they are automatically approved by the state.

 

How Can I find a Drug/Alcohol Class In my Area?

 

  • Find court-approved classes on the county or state government web site
  • Your state’s Motor Vehicle Department Web site
  • Ask your attorney
  • Ask your parole officer

 

Although a class down the road from where you live or work – or an online course - may be convenient, it is pointless enrolling there if the program is not recognized by the state, so be sure to check first.

 

Read Chapter 9 - Getting an Ignition Interlock Device Installed

 

The DUI Guide - Content

 


By Richard Jacobs

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