man holding an alcohol while driving

Driving Under the Influence: What to Expect in DUI Education Programs

Driving under the influence (DUI) education programs, also known as DUI school, alcohol education programs, or drunk driving education programs, can often eliminate, lower, or replace more severe penalties in DUI cases, including jail time, license suspension, and hefty fines. If you successfully complete an alcohol education program, the court may even restore your driving privileges. On the other hand, if you fail to complete a program, your case will go through the court once again, and you might face even harsher penalties.

Eligibility Requirements for DUI Education Programs

Eligibility for DUI school isn’t automatic, unless required by the court. To help judges decide whether an offender should go to DUI school or not, they typically take into account the following factors:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) during the time of your arrest;
  • Whether you’ve been charged with DUI in the past or if you’re a multiple, repeat, or first-time offender;
  • Whether you’ve completed a similar program in the past; and
  • Whether you’ve killed or severely injured another individual during a DUI incident.

It’s also vital to note that even if you haven’t been ordered to participate in DUI education programs, going to DUI traffic school is mandatory in some states such as Arizona.

The Different Kinds of DUI Education Programs

There are several levels of DUI education programs, and each comes with different degrees regarding criteria and duration of treatment, depending on your state. Majority of states, for instance, permit DUI offenders who are minors to participate in Level I DUI courses that usually consist of two days or 12 hours of all things related to alcohol and drunk driving. Some states, on the other hand, might require DUI offenders to undergo Level II DUI courses that usually include alcohol education as well as therapy.

Duration of a DUI Education Program

car key hanging from a bottle of beer in the background drunk man

As with all aspects of DUI cases, the length of a DUI program depends on specific factors such as whether you’re a first-time DUI offender or whether you already have a couple of DUI convictions in the past. For example, typical DUI courses for first-time DUI offenders might include 36 hours of coursework for 12 weeks in three-hour sessions. You might also be given a restricted driving license if you need to drive to and from DUI school.

A typical DUI program for second DUI offenders is usually divided into different phases that begin with weekly sessions and then every other week. However, if you have multiple DUI convictions, you will have to attend a 30-month DUI education program plus therapy. However, note that although DUI programs are mandatory in most states, the length of treatment can, in some cases, be reduced through plea-bargaining and negotiations, usually with help from an experienced DUI lawyer.

If you have been charged with DUI and ordered by the court to complete a DUI education program, do it. This will help ensure a more favorable outcome of your case. However, failing to comply with the mandatory DUI school requirement will result in more stringent consequences.