By: Mark Diaz
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DUI Treatment For First-Time Offenders What You Need to Know
Everybody knows it’s wrong to drink and drive. Not only is driving under the influence a crime, but it is also a grave threat to the safety of the driver and that of other people.
While most first-time DUI offenses are categorized as misdemeanors, they can still carry with them severe short-term and long-term consequences. The mandatory minimum sentence for a first-offense, general impairment DUI can include fines, driver’s license suspension, up to six months of probation (the penalties and consequences increase for High BAC and Highest BAC levels), and even jail time.
Those who are charged with DUI will also have to undergo a DUI education and alcohol treatment program (if ordered by the court) in order to regain their driving rights. You can either take a DUI class online or opt for in-person sessions.
If you’ve been charged with DWI in Galveston or elsewhere in the Galveston County area call Mark Diaz at (409) 515-6170
First Offender DUI Treatment Programs
First-time DUI convicts are often ordered by the court to finish a state-licensed alcohol and drug education and counseling program. The program involves attending one or two sessions of drunk driving prevention classes per week for a specified period and can cost at least a few thousand dollars.
The amount of time and number of DUI school hours a person must attend varies on a case-to-case basis and is determined through a substance abuse assessment test.
Substance Abuse Evaluation
The alcohol assessment test is a means to evaluate the extent of a DUI offender’s alcohol or drug problem. The results of the test are then used to determine how many hours of DUI classes the person will need to attend and whether or not enrolling in an alcohol and drug treatment program is necessary.
First-time offenders with BAC below 0.20% are required to take around 30 hours of DUI school, completed over the course of three months, to be eligible for temporary driving privileges or reduced driver’s license suspension, and have their driver’s license reinstated at the end of their sentence. Those with higher BAC levels may have to complete longer DUI school programs, some lasting up to 30 months.
What to Expect in A DUI Program
DUI education and treatment programs vary from one treatment center to another, but they generally consist of group sessions centered on:
How alcohol and drugs can affect driving performance and safety
Legal and personal consequences of driving under the influence
How to avoid drunk driving in the future
DUI treatment programs aim to increase awareness of the effects and dangers of drunk driving and help DUI offenders identify their drug/alcohol use and driving patterns. Ultimately, the goal of this program is to prevent people from driving under the influence ever again.
Some DUI treatment centers perform a follow-up interview after the completion of all required classes to assess the success of the program and reinforce strategies to avoid recidivism.
Although most participants attend DUI classes and treatment programs after getting arrested for intoxicated driving, these programs are available for anyone who wishes to seek guidance regarding their drug and alcohol use.
Advantages of DUI Education and Treatment
Court-mandated DUI education and treatment programs leave choice out of the equation. If you do not complete the required number of hours, the repercussions will be severe and you may never get behind the steering wheel again.
While there are many concerns regarding the efficacy of a program that is somehow “forced” on the individual, studies show that those who are legally bound to attend DUI classes and substance abuse treatments generally have good outcomes. The desire to get their licenses back can motivate offenders to see the program through to the end.
DUI programs have more benefits than just avoiding jail, though. Access to a personalized treatment plan can help reform mindsets and open people’s eyes to the hazard of intoxicated driving – thus, increasing the chance at sustained recovery.
About the Author:
Lauren Kunis is the Content Marketing Strategist for Stonewall Institute, an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment center in Phoenix, Arizona that offers online DUI classes, DUI screenings, and a holistic, individualized approach to addiction recovery. She loves reading books, traveling, and going on hiking adventures with her dog, Max.