Almost everyone who is convicted of DUI in California is ordered to attend DUI school.
A conviction for driving under the influence can trigger a number of legal penalties including jail, probation, fines, community service, and a driver’s license suspension.
In some California counties, DUI offenders are also ordered to have ignition interlock devices (IIDs) installed on their personal vehicles when their driving privilege is restored.
The order to attend DUI school is imposed on almost every convicted California DUI offender.
WHY DOES CALIFORNIA ESTABLISH DUI SCHOOLS?
DUI classes are offered at a variety of locations by state-licensed providers.
Although your attendance may be required, you may ask yourself, “What’s so important about DUI school?” Is there really a reason for going – other than being forced to attend?
This is a brief look at what is required at DUI school in California and why – if you are convicted of driving under the influence – the state may insist upon your attendance.
DUI “school” is a set of courses which educate convicted DUI offenders about the effects of alcohol, legal drugs, and illegal drugs on the human body and on the ability to drive safely.
California’s judges, lawmakers, and police agencies hope that by educating convicted DUI offenders about these subjects, those who are convicted of DUI won’t become repeat offenders.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFICS REGARDING DUI CLASSES IN CALIFORNIA?
A driver who resides in another state – but who receives a DUI conviction in California – may be allowed to take comparable classes through an approved DUI school in that driver’s home state.
Precisely what DUI classes are required for first-time California DUI offenders? It depends on the details of the arrest and conviction:
1. First-time convicted DUI offenders arrested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level under 0.15 percent typically must complete AB 541, a 30-hour course that runs for three months.
2. First-timers arrested with a BAC level at or above 0.15 percent may be ordered to attend classes for 6 months. A BAC level exceeding 0.20 can mean 9 months of DUI school.
3. Minors convicted of a first DUI offense usually must complete AB 803, which is 2 hours of DUI school a week for 6 weeks.
4. If you plead guilty to wet reckless, and it’s your first alcohol-related conviction, you’ll be ordered to complete SB 1176, which is also 2 hours a week for 6 weeks.
IS DUI SCHOOL REQUIRED FOR SUBSEQUENT DUI OFFENSES?
Anyone convicted of a second driving under the influence offense will be required to attend an extensive, 18-month DUI school.
For a third driving under the influence conviction within 10 years, 30 months of classes will be required.
That’s two-and-a-half years of classes, counseling, and enrollment fees.
That’s right. DUI school isn’t free. Along with fines, legal fees, towing charges, and the other costs of a DUI conviction, you have to pay your own way through DUI school.
And if you have to pay for childcare or miss work to attend DUI classes, it costs even more.
WHAT WILL IT COST TO ATTEND DUI SCHOOL?
Costs vary slightly depending on the service provider, but here’s what you can generally expect to pay for tuition at a California DUI school:
1. First-Time DUI Offenders (AB 541): AB 541 is a 3-month, 30-hour course that will cost roughly $600 to $900.
2. First-Time DUI Offenders with a BAC level at or exceeding 0.15 percent (AB 762): AB 762 is a 6-month class that should cost approximately $800 to $1,000.
3. First-Time DUI Offenders with a BAC level at or exceeding 0.20 percent (AB 1353): AB 1353 is a 9-month course that will cost approximately $1,200 to $1,800.
4. Second-Time DUI Offenders (SB 38): SB 38 is an 18-month DUI class that will cost roughly from $1,800 to $2,500.
5. Wet Reckless Offenders (SB1176): SB1176 is a 12-hour class that should cost under $500.
Most California DUI school service providers can offer you a payment plan so that you can begin attending classes with a down payment.
In rare cases, fee waivers may be available for those who cannot afford DUI school tuition.
HOW WILL YOU GET THERE IF YOUR LICENSE IS SUSPENDED?
If you are a first-time offender whose driver’s license has been revoked or suspended, you may qualify for a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to drive to and from DUI school.
Before it will approve your restricted license, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will require proof that you are enrolled in a DUI school and proof that you have auto insurance.
A restricted license will not be available if you were operating a commercial vehicle when you were arrested for driving under the influence.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU FAIL TO ATTEND?
Successfully completing DUI school is almost always required after a driving under the influence conviction in California.
If you fail to attend, a judge can have you arrested and charge you with violating your DUI probation. That’s additional legal trouble that you do not need.
DUI school is not fun. It’s a huge expense, and it’s exceedingly time-consuming. Of course, the best way to avoid having to take DUI classes is to avoid a DUI conviction.
If you are arrested and charged with DUI in southern California, you must be advised and represented by an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer.
HOW CAN A DUI ATTORNEY HELP?
A DUI defense lawyer will review the details of your case and provide the advice and guidance you need.
In some cases, if your rights were violated, your attorney may be able to have the charge dismissed.
If a DUI test was improperly conducted, your attorney may be able to cast doubt on the state’s case against you.
Depending on the state’s evidence and the details of the case, your attorney might recommend going to trial or might suggest that you accept a plea bargain. The laws are different in other states, such as South Carolina, so it is advised to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF A DUI CONVICTION?
Of course, DUI school may not be the worst consequence of a DUI conviction. Even for a first offense, you’ll pay a substantial fine, and you could spend time in jail.
Your auto insurance costs will rise, and if you drive for a living, you may have to find other work. If you hold a professional license, you could lose it after a DUI conviction.
Even as adults, some of us want to go back to school. But no one wants to go to DUI school.
Get the legal help you need if you are accused of driving under the influence in southern California and reach out at once to an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer.