When you are faced with DUI charges and get convicted of them, the judge will sentence you to various penalties according to your offense. One of the penalties a DUI defendant can face is to get ordered to attend a court-approved DUI School, where they will also be subjected to alcohol treatment. This sentence is mostly issued alongside probation for a DUI offense. The period a person is ordered to attend the school varies from whether the crime is a first time or a repeat one.
If you get ordered to attend and complete a DUI school, and you fail to do so, your probation sentence may get revoked. This may result in you being sentenced to jail instead. If you are accused of a DUI offense or failing to complete a DUI school program, a DUI attorney can defend you against these allegations. Getting in touch with Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer will help you fight against these allegations and prevent harsh penalties.
The Length Taken to Complete the Program
Whether a driver has been convicted of a DUI offense or not, or whether they entered a no-contest plea or a guilty plea, he or she must participate in a DUI school. Some of the DUI offenses that may get you charged in California include:
- Driving under the influence according to VEH 23152a
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or over according to VEH 23152b
- Being charged with wet reckless according to VEH 23103
A conviction on any of the above charges, among others, can get you ordered to attend a DUI school. Below, we discuss various programs that are available for multiple offenses one can be convicted of.
DUI School Program Lasting 12 hours for Wet Reckless
If you are facing your first DUI charges and get convicted on wet reckless charges, you are expected to attend and complete a DUI program lasting twelve hours.
When a driver gets detained for a DUI offense, they can bargain to have their charges dropped to those of wet reckless. These charges mean that the motorist admits he or she was driving recklessly and had taken some alcohol.
When one gets sentenced to the 12 hour DUI program, they will be expected to attend six lessons for six weeks, with each class lasting two hours.
Underage DUI School Program for 12 hours
This program is specifically designed for minors below the age of 21 in California. The program is also referred to as the AB 803 program. When a minor gets arrested on a DUI offense, when convicted of the crime, they will be asked to complete the program. In qualifying for this program, the defendant must be between eighteen and twenty-one years. Additionally, it must be their first DUI offense in California.
Three Month DUI Program for a First-time Offender with a BAC of 0.02% and Below
As earlier stated, the length of a DUI program is based on the offense. And whether it is a repeat offense as well as circumstances of the offense. If the alcohol content in your system were above the legally required one as is found under this, you would get ordered to attend and complete a DUI program that lasts three months.
This program is also known as the AB 541 program. It is a standard program among first-time offenders convicted of either drugs or alcohol intoxication.
If you get sentenced to attend the DUI schools program lasting three months, your committed attendance, as well as completion, are part of the conditions outlined in your probation. This program requires the defendant to attend classes for thirty hours.
How the classes are structured may vary based on where they are and how the provider prefers them. Generally, however, a driver ordered to this program should expect to participate in ten to fifteen classes. Most programs are structured such that a defendant attends one class a week that may last for a few hours in a duration of between three and four months.
A standard DUI School program lasting three months includes:
- The intake session and getting enrolled
- Attending twelve hours of class sessions
- Participating in group counseling lasting eighteen hours and
- Attending personalized counseling sessions three times
DUI School Program for Nine Months for a Second wet reckless offense with a BAC of 0.02% or Over
This program is also referred to as AB 1353. A defendant will be ordered to a nine-month DUI school program when:
- He or she is facing the first offense of a DUI with a BAC of 0,02% or more
- The defendant declined to submit to chemical testing upon a DUI arrest or
- The defendant seeks a plea bargain where he or she is found guilty of a wet reckless with a prior wet reckless conviction in their record over the last ten years
When ordered to a nine-month school program, you will be expected to complete a total of sixty instruction hours. These get further divided into:
- Six lessons each taking two hours. These classes may combine both film and lectures
- Twenty-two sessions of group discussions with each lasting two hours. These sessions are once every two weeks
- Sixteen personalized interview sessions lasting fifteen minutes each
- Attending thirty-six meetings for alcoholics anonymous
DUI School Program Lasting Eighteen Months for Second-time Offenders
If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense in ten years from your first one or your first wet reckless one, you will get ordered to attend a DUI school program for eighteen or thirty months. The eighteen months program deals with both alcohol and drugs and is also referred to as SB38. Many second-time offenders often get sentenced to this program.
Sometimes, a third-time offender may also be sentenced to this program instead of the thirty months one. For a third or another offender to be eligible for an eighteen-month program, you must have attended and completed another eighteen-month program previously.
This DUI school program comprises group discussions, lectures, and videos on DUI laws in California. They also discuss and watch videos on alcohol and drug abuse and the various consequences. Therapy sessions are also part of the program where drivers are encouraged to identify problems of alcohol and drugs and how to change the behaviors.
For a repeat offender, the program also includes helping the defendant with their entry back to the community and monitoring their progress. This helps assist them transition with ease to a healthy life.
The defendant gets helped to transition from the intense programs at the DUI school to those that work to help them individually, like attending alcoholics anonymous. The defendant, at this time, gets help to find a job if it is necessary, and they are having challenges.
The eighteen-month program is broken down to:
- Group counseling sessions that last for fifty-two hours
- Drug and alcohol education sessions that take twelve hours
- Six hours of assistance in re-entering the community
- Personalized interviews through the initial year, carried out every two weeks
Thirty Month DUI School Programs for Multiple Offenders
The thirty-month program is also known as SB 1365 that targets multiple offenders. This program is, however, not available in all counties in California. A judge will order a defendant to this program if:
- The defendant had a very high BAC record when they got charged with a second DUI offense
- The defendant was found guilty or pleaded no contest for a third DUI that included a high BAC record
If sentenced to a thirty-month DUI program, the program will be divided into:
- A group counseling session lasting 78 hours
- Attending lessons on drugs and alcohol that last for 12 hours
- Being ordered to community service that will last between 120 and 300 hours
- Being subjected to personalized interviews regularly
Cost of a California DUI School Program
When sentenced to attend a DUI program, it does not come without a cost to you. A defendant pays for the program. The price will vary depending on the location and the provider. Some of the costs are:
- For a program that lasts 12 hours such as AB 803 or SB 1176, it will cost approximately $270
- AB 541 program lasting three months will cost approximately $843
- AB 1353 program lasting nine months will cost approximately $1,851
- SB 38 program lasting eighteen months will cost between $1,900 and $2,00 and
- SB 1365 program lasting thirty months, costing approximately $3,000
These programs are expensive and will always require an initial payment of approximately $350 if one cannot afford to pay the full amount upfront. The charges discussed above, however, vary from one place to another and according to the provider of the program.
When a Defendant Cannot Afford the Cost of a DUI Program
These programs are expensive, as previously discussed, and not every defendant can afford them despite the installment payment options. When one cannot afford the program, they can get a waiver of the fees. A defendant needs to make their case known to the provider who will assess the financial capability of the defendant.
A reduction in fees is dependent on a scale. If you are qualified to receive a waiver on your payments, your school program will not:
- Deny services because of your financial status alone
- Put you on a waiting list or refer you to a different provider because you are unable to meet the full fees
- Ask you to make an initial payment for the costs or
- Ask a defendant that has qualified for assistance to pay over $5 a month for missed classes or rescheduling fees or reinstatement fees to the school if needed
If you get ordered to participate in a DUI school program, you must provide a letter showing that you qualify for assistance. This letter should be accompanied by other documents that support your status to the program provider. Once this letter is provided, the program provider will conduct an assessment of your income before offering you a schedule for a reduced payment.
Attending School with a Suspended Driver’s License
If you are a first DUI offender with a revoked or suspended driver’s license in California, you may be qualified to apply for restricted driving. However, not every first-time offer qualifies to get a restricted driver’s license. If you refused to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC level when you got lawfully arrested, you would not qualify for a restricted driver’s license.
A defendant can get either an IID restricted driver’s license or a standard restricted driver’s license. With an IID restricted driver’s license, you will be able to drive to any place provided the IID device gets fitted in your car. However, if you prefer not to have an IID device in your vehicle, you can get a standard or regular restricted driver’s license. A restricted license has limitations of where the holder can drive to. The license permits the driver to:
- Operate their vehicle to work and back, as long as they are employed
- Driving to the DUI school and back
- Drive to the hospital to take yourself, a loved one or to visit a sick relative
Before issuing a restricted driver’s license, various requirements by the DMV must get fulfilled. These are:
- Evidence that you are enrolled in a DUI education program
- Proof that you are financially responsible
Financial responsibility is typically shown when the driver purchases an SR22 form that indicates they have an insurance cover should they be involved in an accident. This cover ensures any victims of an accident where the defendant is involved will get compensated for the damages they incur.
Commercial driver’s license holders or individuals arrested for a DUI while operating a commercial vehicle do not qualify to get a restricted driver’s license.
Proving Enrolment and Completion of DUI School Program
Upon receiving your sentence on a DUI offense, the court will order you to provide evidence of enrollment to a DUI school program in 21 days. Fortunately, it is not you that presents the proof. The program provider upon admission will send a certificate of enrolment to the DMV and the court on your behalf.
The court will also expect you to complete the program at a specific time or date. When you complete the program, the provider will share the completion certificate with the DMV or the court on your behalf.
Missing DUI Classes
A DUI school program is flexible to allow participants to miss some sessions. However, the missed sessions must be compensated for before one gets issued with a certificate of completion. If you miss more courses than is permitted, you will get dismissed from the program and the information shared with the court or DMV as well as the probation officer.
The classes one is allowed to miss before being expelled from a DUI program are:
- If you got ordered to an AB 803 or SB 1176 that lasts 12 hours, you could not lose more than two sessions
- If your course requires you to attend the DUI school for three months, you will not be allowed to miss more than five sessions
- If you got sentenced to AB 1353 that lasts nine months, you could not lose more than seven classes
- If your sentence was for eighteen months (SB 38), you are not allowed to miss more than ten sessions
- If your DUI school program were to last for thirty months, you would not be permitted to drop more than fifteen sessions.
It is important to note that even as you reschedule the missed sessions, the court has still put a timeline for when you will complete your program. Without compensating the missed meetings, the program provider will not issue you with a certificate to show completion. If this is not provided, you will be found in violation of your probation conditions, which may lead to its revocation.
What You Will do at a DUI School Program
DUI school programs are designed to include both education and counseling. Most counseling sessions are carried out in group settings, although there is provision for personalized sessions.
The class lessons consist of the participants getting taught DUI laws of California, drug laws, consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, among others. The education is provided as:
- Live class lectures where it is interactive between the provider and the participants
- Videos that may get used to demonstrate the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse
- Group discussions where participants share their experiences and analyze various situations as they encourage each other
If you do not participate actively in the class sessions or group discussions, you will not get questioned for it. However, during the personalized sessions, the program provider expects you to participate actively to know if you are benefiting from the program.
Your Alcohol or Drugs Intake while at the Program
One of the conditions, when sentenced to a DUI probation, is not to have a traceable alcohol amount in your system. When you are participating in the DUI school program, you are typically on probation, and as such, you are not expected to consume any drugs or alcohol during the period. Your sobriety will keep you in the program. However, if you violate this requirement and are suspected to be intoxicated, you may:
- Required to submit to breathalyzer testing or chemical screening to eliminate the suspicions
- Be expelled from the program
This behavior amounts to violating your probation requirements that will see the possibility of getting your probation revoked. Other reasons that can result in you getting dismissed from a DUI program include:
- If you cause disruptions in class
- If you keep sleeping during a session or
- The provider believes that you pose a threat to other participants of the program or the provider themselves
Consequences of Failing to Complete Your DUI Program as Ordered by the Court
If you fail to complete the ordered program, you will get subjected to various outcomes. When you get expelled from your DUI program, you will not be allowed to drive using a restricted driver’s license. In case you ignore this and keep driving, you will violate your probation terms. One of the probation terms, when sentenced to probation, is not to commit another offense. Driving with a suspended or revoked license is an offense in California.
Failing to complete the program as ordered by the court is equally a violation of the terms of the probation. When you violate your probation, a probation hearing will be instituted where the judge listens to your defense and decides if to revoke the probation or add more strict conditions.
Getting a Bench Warrant for Violating your Probation
Usually, when you violate your probation terms such as failing to attend the program, the program provider must inform the court of your violation. The judge then issues a bench warrant to get you arrested for the breach. When a hearing is carried out, and the judge decides to revoke your probation, you may get ordered to prison time.
In addition to these consequences, the DMV can revoke your restricted driver’s license and keep your license suspended as it was initially.
When You Must Travel Out of the State on Duty Before Completing your DUI School Program
Sometimes a DUI offender on probation may be required to leave the country or state for duty. For instance, if you get ordered on military duty, you are allowed to apply for leave from the program. The court will evaluate your application, and if it is of merit, they will grant you the consent.
However, upon coming back to the state, you must continue with the program from where you left it. This is necessary for you to complete the probation requirement.
When You Live Out of California and Must Attend a DUI Program
If you are an out of state license holder and you got convicted of a DUI in California that resulted in your getting sentenced to attend a DUI school program, it may be challenging for you. In such a case, you can apply to get a 1650 waiver that allows you to attend the program in your home state.
It is essential to know that the state where you will attend the DUI school must offer an intense program similar to the one provided in California to satisfy the requirements of the DMV in California. If the program does not qualify for the California standards, you may get subjected to a prolonged license suspension from your home state.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
A DUI offense in California carries strict penalties for those convicted. With an experienced attorney, you can avoid some of the harsh penalties and get sentenced to probation. While you are on probation, you can continue with your obligations. This is while fulfilling the requirements of your offense. For this to happen, however, you need to speak to a DUI attorney when charged with a DUI offense. At Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer, we are experienced in offering our clients the best defense when faced with DUI allegations. Reach us at 714-820-9592, and allow us the privilege to defend you.