A deterrent program is designed to show you firsthand the consequences of drunk driving, often in a shocking way. You may be ordered into one as part of your DUI sentence.
In recent years there has been a shift in how DUI sentences are viewed. Rather than using purely penal measures, such as jail and fines, the state of California increasingly seeks to use education and treatment to prevent offenders from driving drunk again. This has led to the creation of a variety of “deterrent programs” for DUI convicts.
A deterrent program is designed to show you firsthand the awful consequences a DUI can have. Most of them focus on the potential to accidentally harm or kill another person by driving under the influence. As a result, most of these programs are somewhat morbid and can even be disturbing. This is intentional—it’s supposed to convince you never to drive drunk again.
The two most common deterrent programs in Los Angeles are:
- The Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program. This program consists of two half-day trips, one to a hospital ER and the other to the morgue. You may have to look at injured people, cadavers, or images of terrible injuries.
- The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim panel. This is a single half-day program in which you hear from speakers who have lost loved ones to drink driving. It can be emotional.
Judges often order deterrent programs for first time DUI convicts and underage DUIs. If you are a repeat offender, you’re more likely to face alcohol treatment or drug addiction treatment.
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