If you are convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you may be required to take DUI classes as part of your sentence. You may also be required to take these classes if you lose your license as a result of failing to comply with implied consent laws in your state. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to drive while under the influence, why courts require drivers to take DUI classes and what happens if you don’t complete a course in a timely manner.
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What Is a DUI?
In most states, you are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol level is greater than .08%. Commercial drivers may be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol level is greater than .04% while motorists under the age of 21 may be charged if they have any alcohol in their systems at all.
Generally speaking, consuming one alcoholic beverage increases your blood alcohol level by .02%. However, your weight, gender and the contents of your stomach can influence the exact impact that beer, wine or liquor have on your body. Furthermore, if you have a low tolerance for alcohol, even a single drink may make it unsafe for you to drive.
By the time your blood alcohol level gets to .08% or higher, you will have trouble regulating your emotions, processing information or maintaining control of your body. Ultimately, this increases your risk of speeding or maintaining your lane. It may also make you vulnerable to running red lights or going through stop signs without even knowing what you have done.
Officers will use a number of criteria to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol. For example, physical signs of impairment include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and difficulty standing. A Breathalyzer test might be used to get a clearer idea of how much alcohol is in your system. A blood draw may also be obtained in an effort to confirm the results of the Breathalyzer test.
What to Know About DUI Classes
DUI classes are designed to be both educational and insightful. For instance, a typical course will go over seemingly mundane topics such as the DUI laws in your state or the signs of impairment. However, you will also learn more about your relationship with alcohol and how it impacts your life and the lives of those around you.
In a typical class, the first thing that you will do is take an alcohol assessment test. The test is designed to determine if you should be labeled as dependent on beer, wine or other intoxicating beverages. If you are found to be dependent on this substance, you may need to take a longer course that is focused on rehabilitation as much as it is focused on education.
Why a Court May Compel You to Take a DUI Class
For a first-offense, a judge may allow you to take a DUI class in lieu of jail time, community service or a fine. If you complete the course in a timely manner, it’s possible that the charge will be dropped or reduced, which will make it easier to get your license back or remain employed.
However, you may be required to take the class if you are convicted of an aggravated felony or have been convicted of misdemeanor DUI in the past. Aggravating factors may include an extremely high blood alcohol level or an accident causing bodily injury or property damage.
How a DUI Class Can Help You
At first, you may agree to take a DUI class because it is the only way to maintain or reinstate your driving privileges. However, you will likely find that such a course can transform your life in a positive way. If your assessment shows that you aren’t dependent on alcohol, you’ll likely only have to take the standard 12-hour class.
This class generally features guest speakers and other interactive activities designed to help highlight the danger of driving while impaired. However, courses for those who are considered to have an alcohol dependency will likely be enrolled in a course that takes up to 30 weeks to complete.
During this time, you’ll learn to identify the triggers that lead to excessive drinking. For instance, you may drink because you’re stressed about paying bills or how you’re perceived at work. You may also drink because it helps you cope with childhood trauma or a traumatic event that happened as an adult such as the loss of a close friend or relative.
In some cases, simply understanding your triggers is enough to overcome the urge to drink alcohol when you’re feeling stressed or anxious. If your trigger was an undiagnosed mental issue such as anxiety, depression or ADHD, taking medication may enable you to manage your symptoms.
At a minimum, understanding your triggers may help you avoid them altogether. For instance, if you get stressed when you pass by the spot where you were struck by a vehicle, you may decide not to travel past that spot whenever possible. If your trigger is a day of the week, month or year, you can think of peaceful activities such as yoga or meditation to take your mind off of your anxiety.
Other possible coping strategies include journaling, going for a run or talking to a therapist. If you enroll in an outpatient rehabilitation program, you may be given a sponsor who you can contact at any time when you’re feeling vulnerable.
You Learn How to Be Accountable
If you take a DUI class seriously, it can provide you with an opportunity to turn your mistake into an opportunity to help others. For instance, if you have friends or family members who are dependent on alcohol, you can use the tools that you were given in class to help them understand that change is possible.
You may also decide to offer yourself as a designated driver to those who may need a ride home. Acting as a designated driver may prevent another person or family from dealing with the pain of losing a loved one. Furthermore, by helping a friend or family member avoid a DUI, you may be saving that person’s family avoid the problems that come when a parent is in jail or a breadwinner is no longer employed.
Make Sure to Take an Approved Course
Your attorney may be able to help you find an approved course provider in your area. The DMV in your area may also be able to help you take a course that is in compliance with state law. Although these courses are often made available online, a virtual course may not qualify for the purposes of getting your license back or otherwise completing your sentence.
The Consequences of Not Taking a DUI Class
Taking a DUI class is typically a requirement of getting your license back after it has been suspended. It may also be a requirement to obtain a provisional license or to prevent your full license from becoming restricted or suspended. Therefore, if you fail to enroll or complete an approved DUI course, your driving privileges will likely be taken away.
It’s also possible that failing to comply with a judge’s order could result in being held in contempt of court. A contempt charge may come with a fine as well as a jail sentence of several days or weeks. Even if you aren’t held in contempt, drawing the ire of the court may make it seem as if you aren’t taking your actions seriously.
If you were given a suspended jail sentence after a DUI conviction, a judge could move to restore the original penalty. Alternatively, failing to take a DUI course might be seen as a violation of your probation, which could also result in jail time or other penalties.
When you are ready to start the journey to sobriety, the folks at Illinois Recovery Center are ready to help. The alcohol detox and rehab center uses a variety of evidence-based programs designed to help you overcome your dependence on alcohol. You can visit our website to learn more about our services or begin the process of enrolling in our program.
How much are DUI classes?
The cost of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) classes can vary greatly depending on multiple factors including:
- The state or country in which you live: Each state or country may have different requirements and associated costs.
- The length of the course: Some courses may be a one-day seminar, while others may be multiple weeks or even months long. Longer courses typically cost more.
- The level of the offense: If this is a first-time offense, the classes might be less expensive than if this is a second or third offense. Repeated offenses often result in more intensive (and expensive) classes.
- Online vs in-person: Online classes may have different costs than in-person classes.
- Any additional fees: Some programs may require you to pay additional fees for things like books, enrollment, or assessments.
As of my last update in September 2021, a typical DUI class in the United States could range anywhere from $100 to $500, but this is just an average. Some states or situations could see prices going up to $1,000 or more. It’s best to check with local agencies or online resources for the most current and accurate pricing in your specific area.
Can you do DUI classes online?
Yes, many states in the U.S., and some countries, offer online DUI classes. These can be a more convenient option for those with work or family commitments that make attending in-person classes difficult.
However, it’s important to note that not all jurisdictions accept online classes to fulfill court-ordered requirements. Whether an online class is acceptable depends on the specific laws and regulations in your area.
Before enrolling in an online DUI class, make sure to:
- Verify with the court or agency requiring the class that an online version is acceptable.
- Confirm that the online program is accredited and recognized in your jurisdiction.
- Understand what the class entails. This includes the course length, what you’ll learn, and how tests or exams are conducted.
It’s crucial to get all necessary permissions and fulfill all legal obligations. Doing the class online without confirming that it meets the necessary requirements may result in you having to retake the class in person.
How long are DUI classes?
The length of DUI classes can vary greatly based on a few factors:
- The severity of the offense: A more serious offense, or multiple offenses, may result in a longer mandated class.
- The state or jurisdiction: Different states or countries have different requirements for DUI education courses.
- The specific course provider: Different course providers may have different course lengths even within the same jurisdiction.
In general, DUI classes can range anywhere from 12 hours to 30 hours for first-time offenses. Some might extend to several weeks or even months, particularly for repeat offenders. There are also multiple session courses, often taking place once a week over a series of weeks.
For example, as of my last update in September 2021, in California, first-time offenders are often required to complete a 30-hour DUI school over a span of three months. For repeat offenses, the requirement can go up to a 60-hour program over 18 months.
You’ll want to verify the specific requirements for your jurisdiction or consult with a legal professional to get the most accurate information for your situation.
How do I find a DUI evaluation near me?
Finding a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) evaluation near you can be an important step in addressing legal issues related to impaired driving. Keep in mind that laws and procedures can vary based on your location. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Understand Your Requirements: Different states and countries have varying requirements for DUI evaluations. Make sure you understand what’s required in your area. Your attorney, if you have one, can help with this.
- Search Online: Use a search engine to look for DUI evaluations in your area. You could use search terms like “DUI evaluation near me” or “substance abuse assessment near me.”
- Use Directories: Some websites have directories of service providers. Psychology Today, for example, has a directory that can be used to find substance abuse professionals.
- Local Government Websites: Check your local government’s website. They often have resources for finding approved DUI evaluators. In the U.S., state government websites often have lists of state-approved evaluators.
- Contact Local Courts: Sometimes local courts can provide information on where to get a DUI evaluation, especially if the evaluation is court-ordered.
- Contact a Lawyer: If you have a lawyer, ask them for recommendations on where to get a DUI evaluation. Lawyers often have a network of professionals they work with and might be able to point you in the right direction.
- Ask for Recommendations: Friends, family, or acquaintances who have gone through a similar process may be able to recommend a provider.
- Local Support Groups: Contact local alcohol or substance abuse support groups, as they often have information about local resources.
- Insurance Company: If you have health insurance, contact your insurance company to ask about covered providers for substance abuse assessments.
- Be Prepared for the Evaluation: Once you’ve found a provider, make sure to gather any required documents or information you might need for the evaluation.
Remember that the DUI evaluation process can be sensitive and is often required for legal reasons. It’s important to approach it responsibly and to be honest and forthcoming during the evaluation. Additionally, make sure to comply with any legal obligations associated with the DUI incident.