If you have recently been arrested and convicted for a DUI, you may find yourself having to attend DUI school. While this may be an inconvenience, as well as a budget breaker, it’s certainly a better outcome than being sentenced to spend time in prison. It’s best for you to look on the bright side and attend your DUI class with an open mind. The DUI lawyer that you hire to represent you in your case may be able to get you into this special school as a way of avoiding heavier penalties, such as fines and jail time. You’ll need to be aware of the conditions required so that you can complete the classes.
What Can You Expect When You Go to a DUI School?
If you are required by the court to attend a DUI driving school, there are certain requirements that you will be expected to satisfy. You will need to attend each and every class that is mandated for you. At the end of the experience, you may be required to take a test that proves that you absorbed the information that was provided to you. You will then receive a certificate of attendance that proves that you attended the class as ordered by the court. The consequences of not attending each and every DUI class could be very bad for you. You might receive a heavy fine or be ordered to prison.
How Do You Know if You Are Eligible to Attend DUI School?
There are a number of factors that will determine whether or not you are eligible to attend this kind of school. For example, many states will not allow you to attend this type of school if you are a repeat offender. Your eligibility for school may also depend on the level of your blood alcohol content when you were arrested. Some states will not allow you to attend this school if your level was above a certain level.
Can a Judge Disbar You From Attending an Alcohol Education Class?
If you have previously participated in this program, or attended a similar type of school, you may be barred from attending it again. The judge may feel that you have not learned your lesson in an adequate fashion and that stronger preemptive measures are required. In this case, you may well receive a much higher punishment after your conviction.
If you were arrested and charged with a DUI as the result of an accident in which you caused damage to public or private property, or if the accident resulted in injuries or fatalities, you will probably not be allowed to suggest attending this school as an alternative to other penalties.
What Are the Different Types of Alcohol Education Classes?
If you are allowed to attend this type of class, there are several different kinds that you might be ordered to report to. If you are under the age of 21 and/or a first time DUI offender, you will usually be allowed to attend a Level I alcohol education class. This is a type of program that requires 12 hours of education about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, and driving under the influence. The course will usually be completed over a period of 2 days.
Are There Differences Between a Level I and Level II Program?
Many states will require that you participate in a Level II program. This is especially the case if you are not a first time DUI offender, or if your blood alcohol content was higher than the level that is acceptable for a Level I program – generally below .10. In a Level II program, you will generally be required to attend a much longer series of educational classes. The exact length of the program will vary from state to state. It will also vary according to the severity of your DUI offense. In most Level II programs, there will also be a certain amount of therapy that you will be required to receive.
How Long Will You Be Required to Attend a DUI Education Class?
As noted above, the amount of time that you will generally be required to attend a DUI class will depend on the rules of the state you were convicted in. Special circumstances, such as the severity of your offense, will also dictate how long you are required to attend one of these classes. Depending on the discretion of the judge who tries your case, you may also be required to attend a certain amount of therapy, the duration of which is covered under state guidelines.
What Is the Standard Length of Time for First Offenders?
A standard state sponsored DUI educational program may last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks. If you are first offender, your mandatory alcohol education program might take place over a series of two or three hour sessions for 12 weeks, for a total of 24 to 36 hours of classes. If the nature of your offense was not too serious, you may qualify to receive a restricted driver’s license so that you can drive yourself to and from the classes.
What Is the Standard Length of Time for Repeat Offenders?
The course of state sponsored alcohol education is different for second offenders. The nature of the classes will be more intensive and will frequently involve quite a bit of required therapy. The length of time you will be required to attend one of these programs will generally be much longer than if you were a first time offender. In some cases, the program may last up to 30 months. You will very likely not be allowed to obtain a restricted driver’s license, which means that someone will have to drive you to and from the classes.
Can You Ordered to Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous Program?
While a court will normally order you to attend a fully state accredited alcohol or DUI education program, your lawyer may sometimes be able to substitute a national program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. A judge cannot order you to attend this particular program, but may allow you to do so as long as you are able to show proof of your regular attendance. Attending such a program may save you quite a bit of time and money as opposed to attending a DUI education program that is mandated by the state. However, your attendance in any such program will be monitored very closely.
What Other Types of Programs Are You Eligible to Attend?
You may also be able to check into a variety of other programs where you will receive the counseling and therapy that you need to overcome your issues with drugs or alcohol. For example, you may be able to attend classes sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) or a number of other nationally recognized and accredited programs. The decision to allow this is up to the judgment of the court. It should be noted that a judge will not normally allow you to take this option if you have attended similar programs in the past with no visible results.
You’ll Need to Consult With Your DUI Attorney About Attending Classes
It’s an excellent idea to arrange for a free consultation with a DUI attorney in order to ascertain whether or not you are eligible to attend DUI education classes. If you are able to, this will be an excellent way for you to avoid more severe penalties, especially jail time. A qualified legal professional can help you to present your case in the best possible light so that you can convince a judge to allow you to attend one of these programs. Your best bet for a lighter state enforced educational burden is to contact a DUI attorney and arrange for professional legal representation.
How to Fight a DUI
Many drivers who are arrested for DUIs have no idea what to expect in the coming months. After being officially detained and charged, a driver might feel as if their entire life is about to fall apart. While these events can be traumatic, it is important to remember that there is help out there. With a DUI lawyer by your side, you are going to be in the best possible position to reduce the charges or keep the DUI completely off of your record. Without an experienced attorney, you might end up facing thousands of dollars in fines, a suspended license, and countless other penalties.
The True Cost of a DUI Charge
A driver might never even consider seeking out professional legal help because they don’t realize just how expensive these charges can be. While every state has its own rules and regulations, most have very strict laws regarding DUIs. Even first-time offenders might end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fines and fees if they are found guilty. In addition to the monetary penalties, the judge might also force you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle once your license suspension is up.
One of the biggest expenses of a DUI conviction is the rise in insurance premiums. Once the driver is able to get behind the wheel of a vehicle again, they will most likely need to apply for specialized insurance. Coverage for a driver who has a DUI on their record is prohibitively expensive, and it can end up costing them thousands of dollars extra every year. Even their employer might take a look at their driving record and decide that they are too much of a liability to work for the company. Those are just a few of the reasons why it is so important for you to spend some time researching how to beat a DUI.
Understanding the Legal Process
After being arrested, the law enforcement officer will most likely ask you to take a chemical BAC test. Drivers who refuse these tests will generally have their licenses suspended automatically. If you decide to take the test, then those numbers will be placed in the report for the DMV hearing and your first appearance in front of a judge. Most of those who are charged with a DUI have their cars impounded and spend at least 12 hours in a cell. From the moment that you have access to a phone, it is vital that you contact a drunk driving lawyer.
What is DUI Lawyer?
A DUI lawyer is a legal professional who focuses on DUIs, DWIs, reckless driving, and other similar charges. After completing law school and passing the bar exam, they might take additional classes that cover the nuances of driving laws and regulations. Lawyers often focus their attention on a single area of the law due to how complex these issues can be. Trying to master every single aspect of the law is impossible, and that is why it is so important to work with an attorney who has invested time and energy into learning about DUI cases.
What to Expect in the Coming Months
What takes place after a DUI charge depends on many different factors such as the individual’s driving record and where the arrest took place. In most cases, the process will begin with an arraignment hearing where they will be officially charged. You must have a DUI lawyer by your side well before the arraignment because you will be asked to enter a plea. Those who plead not guilty or no contest can change their plea at a later time, but an admission of guilt is almost always irreversible.
You will then be ordered to attend a preliminary hearing where the official evidence will be shared by the state. Some of the most common forms of evidence for DUI charges include the chemical BAC test, the officer’s report, reports from any witnesses, and footage from the camera inside the officer’s vehicle. In order to come up with a compelling case, your attorney must be there for the preliminary hearing as well. They can then file a pre-trial motion to gain access to the evidence so that it can be carefully studied.
Fighting and Beating a DUI
There is no single argument or method that a legal representative can use to win every case. Over the years, many different tactics have been used to reduce these charges or beat them entirely. One of the most common methods for beating a DUI is to examine the accuracy of the BAC testing kits. Depending on what type of kit was used on you, it might not have been calibrated or administered correctly. Your attorney will need to take a closer look at the law enforcement officer’s career as well. If you were pulled over illegally or the officer has a history of false arrests, then those issues might become major factors in the case.
It is important for all drivers to realize that law enforcement officers have undergone extensive training to try and get drivers to incriminate themselves. Even if they are not directly being hostile, they might still coerce you into saying or doing things you didn’t want to do. Issues such as searching your vehicle without asking or going through your pockets before you were officially arrested could be grounds to have the entire case thrown out.
A Look at DUI Checkpoints
Over the last few decades, DUI checkpoints have become a heated topic throughout the United States. Drivers who are arrested at checkpoints often feel as if they have no recourse, but that isn’t always true. Even though the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of DUI checkpoints, law enforcement teams must adhere to very strict rules such as notifying citizens of the upcoming checkpoint and establishing a safe area to interrogate drivers. Any logistical mistakes that they made while setting up the checkpoint could eventually impact your case.
How Much Do DUI Lawyers Cost?
One of the biggest mistakes that a driver can make is failing to call a drunk driving attorney because they are unsure of the costs. In many states, a single DUI conviction can end up costing a driver over $25,000. In addition to the immense fines and fees, a conviction will be a serious blemish on your record that might affect your career for years to come. Without a DUI attorney by your side, completely beating your charges is going to be nearly impossible.
Many drivers are glad to hear that almost all attorneys offer a free consultation to their potential clients before they pick up a case. During this consultation, they will want to learn more about how the arrest was carried out and what took place while you were being questioned. Once you have given them that information, they will have a much better idea of how they can create an airtight case. Some of these legal representatives might even offer to take on your case at no cost to you unless you win.
Moving on With Your Life
No matter what you plan on doing next, it is always a good idea to schedule a preliminary consultation with an experienced DUI attorney to explore your legal options. A DUI is one of the worst offenses that a driver can ever be charged with, and it could even lead to time in jail if you are a repeat offender or someone was injured while you were behind the wheel. From the moment that you contact an attorney, you can rest assured that your case is being handled by a legal professional who wants you to move on with your life as quickly as possible.
How Long are DUI/DWI Classes?
Many drivers know that a DUI or DWI conviction will result in very harsh penalties. Possible penalties include high fines, jail time, whiskey plates, ignition interlock devices, and license suspension and revocation. The consequences can be rather extreme.
However, there is one type of penalty that is common, but you may not hear about as much. The penalty is mandatory DUI classes. The classes are important because they teach about drunk driving dangers and can help people dealing with alcohol addiction. In other words, the DUI classes re-educate drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the purpose of keeping it from happening again.
The Benefits of DUI Classes
What DUI classes entail depends on the state. The standard elements of DUI classes include:
• Teaching the dangers of driving under the influence
• Counseling individuals with alcohol addiction, which is sometimes mandatory anyway because a person offended. For those with an actual addiction, additional therapy or referrals to therapists may be needed.
• Professionals may prepare assessments that measure the risk of a repeat drunk driving offense. For instance, a person may have only offended once because of bad judgment. Another person may have had multiple offenses, which means there is a true problem. This information can be used to ensure proper education and that certain measures are taken to help the person not re-offend. Judges can also use assessments to increase or decrease penalties.
Everyone benefits from DUI classes because the goal is to make sure DUI offenders don’t offend again.
Length of DUI Classes
As for how long DUI classes last, the length depends on what the state has determined is best. One state may require just 12 hours, while another requires 26 hours. How many offenses a person has had can also determine the length of the class. DUI classes have their own curriculums, which also determine their length.
For offenders with multiple DUIs, there are DUI classes that can last as long as 30 months. If it is a second or third offense, the class may be divided into phases. The first phase may be the weekly sessions in which attendance is mandatory. The second phase is when the classes graduate to every other week. No two states may do this the same way.
In regard to individual class length, a class may be an hour long or it may be two hours long. Again, the state determines the length, but this can give you a good idea of what to expect.
The Cost of DUI Classes
The cost is another element of DUI classes that varies by state. The classes can cost hundreds of dollars. Because the class is mandatory, the cost is mandatory. What is paid toward DUI classes is in addition to the fines related to the DUI offense and any costs that will occur later when pursuing license reinstatement. If you are awarded limited driving privileges because of an ignition interlock device, the ignition interlock device is paid for by the offender. This shows how expensive a DUI conviction can be.
Are You Eligible for DUI Classes?
Not everyone is eligible for DUI classes. Aggravating factors can influence this. Aggravating factors include the blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the offense, if driving under the influence caused the injury or death of another person, how many previous offenses have occurred in the past, and if there was a minor child in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Past participation in DUI classes may also influence eligibility.
As always, state law determines whether a person is eligible or not. If state law doesn’t have an influence, then a judge’s discretion will. Sometimes it’s both.
If you are eligible to take DUI classes, there are certain requirements. Those requirements include:
• You must have been referred to the program by a judge.
• You must have applied for a new driver’s license after revocation due to the DUI (some states require DUI classes for license reinstatement).
• It is your responsibility to sign up for a session offered by a qualified provider.
• You must begin taking classes within a certain time period, which will be provided to you by the court.
• You may be given a referral letter that you will have to present when you attend your first class.
• You must be present.
What Happens if You Don’t Attend?
If you don’t attend the mandatory DUI classes like your referral letter states you must, any driving privileges that you may have retained will most likely be suspended. You’ll be instructed to surrender your driver’s license to an individual specified by the court. When you complete the classes, you can apply for a new driver’s license.
If your state requires you to take a longer-term class, the courts will give you a reasonable amount of time to complete the program. It isn’t always possible to attend every class, which is why you will most likely be given a deadline to complete your DUI classes. For instance, you may be given 30 days to attend 12 to 26 hours of classes.
Types of DUI Classes
The most common program is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. Every state has AA chapters that can help individuals face their issues with alcohol and beat those issues. Many of the discussions are based on the harmful nature of drinking and what can happen when drinking and driving. The discussions are frank and eye-opening, which is why AA is so effective.
Other programs include the organizations and schools that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) have associated with. The organizations that M.A.D.D. partners with tend to focus on the personal stories of individuals who have lost friends and family members to drunk driving accidents. The groups work toward tougher DUI laws.
The National Highway Safety Commission can help you find information on treatment programs and DUI classes in your specific area so you can fulfill your mandatory class requirement.
Are Online Courses Available?
Some states are offering online DUI classes. These online courses include videos, lectures, reading materials, and quizzes that show the individual understands the material. This is more convenient for those that may have jobs that can make it very difficult to attend the classes.
It is very important to ensure that any online classes you take are accepted by the state in which you received the DUI. If you pay for and take an online class that isn’t accepted, it won’t count toward the drunk driving education requirement. Not only could this cost you money, but could affect the amount of time you have left to comply with the education mandate in your sentence. There are many companies online offering DUI classes, so read all the small print or ask the court or your attorney for a recommendation.
If you were arrested for DUI in another state, you can receive a referral from the state where you were arrested. This referral will allow you to take DUI classes in your home state. When online courses are allowed by the state of arrest, you may be able to take online courses for that state so you can meet that state’s class requirements. This may require special registration with a specific entity for that state. The information will be provided to you so you can follow through with what is required of you.
Finding a DUI Attorney
Because DUI charges are serious, it is important to hire a DUI attorney. Fighting for the best result in your case could result in you taking DUI classes instead of dealing with a more serious consequence. Then again, you could have the penalties reduced to a point that the fines aren’t as high and jail time may not need to be served. There are many possibilities.
Even if you think there is no chance for you, you may be surprised at what options are available and what strategies can be used. There is almost always a way to secure a better outcome than the maximum consequences.