If arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI, you may be required to complete DUI classes or DUI school. While this is not required in all states, it is becoming the norm rather than the exception, especially in the case of repeat offenders. You may also be given the opportunity to lessen the impact of DUI penalties and fines by volunteering to attend these classes.
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What are DUI Classes?
While most will consider these classes punishment, they are actually designed to make drivers more aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. Instructors will combine lectures and film to drive home the impact drinking and driving has not only the driver, but also the innocent victims, including family, friends, and anyone that is unfortunate enough to be involved in a DUI accident simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Some programs will also provide mandatory or voluntary counseling as part of the DUI classes. This can be critical for some people, especially those that do not realize they have a problem. Being able to discuss your problems and/or how you use alcohol to deal with these problems can be a real revelation for some individuals.
How Long Do DUI Classes Last?
As with state laws, every DUI class is different. The specific type of class and/or counseling as well as the violation itself determines the length anyone is required to attend classes.
- First time offenders – the classes for first time DUI offenders are generally about 3 months long with about 36 hours of actual class work. This is usually spread out over weekly periods, with one or two classes per week. The classes are actually designed so as not to create too much disruption on your daily life.
- Repeat offenders – beginning with second time offenders, classes may be longer and spread out over various weeks, sometimes relying on the input of a counselor for completion. For third offenses or more, these programs can last multiple years, requiring monthly “check-ins” for completion. It is common for blood tests to be done randomly for repeat offenders.
DUI Class Curriculum
The curriculum of DUI classes often covers several key areas. These include:
- legal implications of a DUI
- physical and psychological effects of alcohol and other substances
- impact of DUI on families and communities
- strategies for avoiding DUI in the future
The classes may also address the personal issues that led to the DUI, such as substance abuse or emotional health issues.
General Requirements for DUI Classes for States
Here’s a general idea of what DUI class or DUI school requirements might look like in a few states:
- California: First-time offenders are typically required to complete a 3-month, 30-hour alcohol and drug education and counseling program. Repeat offenders or those with a high blood alcohol concentration may be required to complete a longer program.
- Florida: Florida may require a 12-hour DUI school for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders could be required to attend a 21-hour course.
- New York: The state has the Impaired Driver Program (IDP), which most people convicted of an alcohol or drug-related violation are required to attend.
- Texas: The state requires a 12-hour DWI Education Program for first-time offenders.
- Illinois: The state requires a minimum of 10 hours of DUI Risk Education for all offenders.
Moreover, the judge presiding over your case has the discretion to order additional requirements beyond the state minimums, such as longer DUI courses or additional counseling, particularly in cases involving serious injury, property damage, or multiple offenses.
Since most states will require the convicted to pay for their own DUI classes, you may want to consider hiring a local DUI rights attorney to fight the charges, or at least try to plead them out to lesser charges. In most cases, having to attend classes can be reduced or eliminated with a plea bargain. For more information about DUI classes and to find a local attorney for your case, please Fill Out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form!
DUIRights Support is comprised of legal writers and attorneys who are able to generate useful information about issues relating to DUI. Please use all information at your own discretion and never use the information as legal advice without consulting with an attorney.