If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence violations (DUI), consult with a Los Angeles DUI attorney immediately. (DUI) charges can bring serious consequences, including jail time, with long-term effects on your education, employment, finances, and overall future. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you understand your charges, possibly have them reduced, and guide you through the penalty process, which will include the completion of court-approved DUI classes.
What Is a Driving Under the Influence Class?
DUI classes, or DUI school, is an alcohol education and prevention program. Classes provide information on the ways alcohol and other substances affect one’s ability to drive, how to avoid drinking and driving, the risks associated with DUI, and the legal consequences of DUI convictions.
The programs are designed to help attendees take responsibility for their actions and avoid repeating them. They also provide information on addiction and treatment.
Attendees must remain sober during classes and participate in one-on-one counseling sessions.
Who Has to Attend DUI Classes?
If you are convicted of any of the following violations, you will be ordered by the court and/or the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to attend DUI school.
- Driving under the influence: Vehicle Code 23152(a).
- Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher: Vehicle Code 23152(b).
- Underage driving under the influence with a BAC of .05% or higher: Vehicle Code 23140.
Those charged with a “wet reckless” offense will also be required to attend. “Wet reckless” is the name for a charge reduction for reckless driving violations involving alcohol or drug use. The reduction is authorized by Vehicle Code 23103.5 and is often the result of guilty or no contest pleas by first-time DUI offenders.
How Long Are DUI Classes?
The duration of DUI school ranges from 12 hours to 30 months. How long you must attend depends on the specifics of your offense.
Underage first-time DUI offenders or those with a “wet reckless” conviction will likely receive the 12-hour requirement, while a repeat wet reckless charge can bring a 9-month requirement. Other factors used to determine program length are the offenders’ BAC, the number of prior offenses, and whether they refused chemical testing after their arrest.
Where Can I Find Court-Approved Classes Near Me in LA?
The County of Los Angeles offers a list of approved DUI programs in the Los Angeles area.
You can also contact The California Department of Health Care Service (DHCS) via email, by phone, or by accessing their provider directory. There are about 500 state-licensed DUI schools in California. If you attend classes through a school that is not state-licensed, the program will not fulfill your court-ordered requirement.
Can I Attend Classes Online?
The California DHCS does not offer licensing to any online DUI programs. Attending online classes will not satisfy your court-ordered DUI class requirement.
To adjust to COVID-19 circumstances, DHCS made allowances for some providers to offer telehealth services. Your Los Angeles DUI attorney will know whether those allowances remain active.
How Much Do the Classes Cost?
Offenders must cover the tuition for DUI classes. While costs can vary among providers, you can expect the following tuition rates, on average.
- $200-$300 per 12-hour program
- $600 per 3-month program
- $1000 per 6-month program
- $1500 per 9-month program
- $2000-$2500 per 18-month program
- $3000 per 30-month program
Most programs require an initial down payment.
What if I Cannot Afford DUI Classes?
You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you cannot afford DUI classes. Request a financial assessment from the DUI class provider to determine if you qualify for reduced fees, which are offered on a sliding-scale basis.
You will need to provide proof of income documentation to the DUI provider before they proceed with the financial assessment.
How Will the Court Know I Am Enrolled in a DUI program?
At the sentencing for your DUI violation, the judge will order proof of enrollment in a DUI program within 21 days. Upon your enrollment, program providers generally send proof to the court and the DMV for you, though you should always follow up to ensure the documentation was sent.
What Happens When I Complete Court-Approved DUI Classes?
At your sentencing, the judge will also determine a date by which you must complete the program. Upon completion, the program provider will send a certificate of completion to the court and DMV. Course completion is a requirement, among others, depending on your charges, for having your license reinstated.
What If I Miss a Class Session?
DUI class attendees are allowed a specific number of absences depending on the length of the required program.
- 12-hour programs allow 2
- 3-month programs allow 5
- 9-month programs allow 7
- 18-month programs allow 10
- 30-month programs allow 15
If you exceed the limit for your program, you will be dropped from the course. You also must attend a make-up class for any absence to receive a certificate of completion.
What Happens if I Fail to Complete the Program?
There are serious repercussions for failing to complete your court-approved DUI classes.
- You can be charged with defying a court order, which is a probation violation and requires you to appear before a judge and face a potential jail sentence. Should you continue to drive, you can be charged with an additional DUI probation violation.
- The court may issue a California bench warrant for your arrest.
- You will not be able to drive legally in California. The DMV will revoke any restricted license privileges and reinstate your original license suspension.
Speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney
An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney is your best defense against DUI charges. It is in your best interest to face the charges, and the court, with a skilled legal representative. Your lawyer will seek to reduce your charges and subsequent penalties, ensure you are treated fairly by the court system, and help you navigate the components of your punishment. Protect your rights and your future by contacting a Los Angeles DUI attorney today.