Many people facing Driving Under the Influence charges wonder if they will be required to attend classes if they are convicted of DUI. The answer is yes. Not only will classes be required by the court but, in most instances, will also be required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles before they reinstate your driver's license. California offers several different classes, ranging from a 12 hour class to an 18 month class. The class a person is required to take depends on a number of factors, including whether they have any prior DUI convictions, whether they refused to take a chemical test, and, if they took a chemical test, how high the BAC level was.
SB1176 - 12 hour program
This is the shortest class offered and may be required by the court if a person has been convicted of a wet reckless. The class is limited to 12 hours of alcohol and drug education.
AB541 - 3 month program
This is the standard class for those convicted of a 1st time DUI offense. The course is approximately 30 hours and includes alcohol and drug education, group counseling, and individual counseling. As long as your BAC was not .15 or greater this will be the class that the court will order you to attend if you are convicted of a 1st time DUI offense. DMV also requires the AB541 class if it is your 1st offense and you would like to apply for a restricted driver's license before the suspension period has ended. However, DMV will require the 9 month program if your BAC is over .20 or if you refused to take the test.
AB762 - 6 month program
This course will be required by the court for a 1st time offense if your BAC falls between .15 and .19. The course is approximately 44 hours and, similar to the 3 month program, is composed of alcohol and drug education, group counseling, and individual counseling. DMV will still only require you to take a 3 month program if your BAC is between .15 and .19, however the court may order you to do the 6 month class. This is when a good DUI Lawyer can help to negotiate a better deal with the prosecutor and court so that you can avoid the 6 month program.
AB1353 - 9 month program
This is the final course for 1st time offenders. The course is approximately 60 hours. The 9 month program is reserved for those with a BAC of .20 or greater and those that refused to take the chemical test. In this situation, both the court and the DMV will order you to take the 9 month program. This class can also be required if it is your 2nd offense and it was reduced to a wet reckless (this is another example of a plea deal that a good DUI Lawyer can negotiate). The 9 month program is 60 hours and also consists of alcohol and drug education, group counseling, and individual counseling.
SB38 - 18 month program
The 18 month class is reserved for repeat offenders. If you have at least one prior DUI conviction you will be required to attend classes for a year and a half. In addition to all of the components of the other classes (drug and alcohol education, group counseling, and individual counseling), re-entry counseling is also required. In most situations, both the court and DMV will require this course for repeat offenders. You cannot get your driver's license completely restored until this class has been completed.
California DUI classes are also expensive. Prices vary by school. The average cost for the 3 month program is around $600 and the average cost for the 18 month program is almost $2,000. A complete list of DUI programs in California can be found here.
If you were arrested for DUI, it is best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to discuss the situation and learn what your options are moving forward. Berglund Law Office, P.C. specializes in representing persons facing DUI charges. CONTACT our office today for a free and confidential consultation.