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Do I have to get alcohol treatment or attend AA if I am arrested for DUI?

Drunk driving cases are not handled like other criminal charges in California because they often include some kind of alcohol and or drug abuse class. Most DUI convictions require attending DUI school, which can include alcohol counseling.

Some drivers can benefit from alcohol abuse treatment and counseling after a DUI. However, many drivers have to sit through these counseling and treatment classes just for making a one-time mistake. If you have any questions about DUI penalties or how to fight criminal DUI charges after an arrest, contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

Do I have to go to rehab after a DUI arrest in California?

Rehab, or “rehabilitation,” generally refers to residential drug or alcohol treatment facilities. These services generally provide withdrawal treatment, education, counseling, and learning coping skills to be able to avoid drugs or alcohol upon release.

Individuals who are arrested for a DUI in California are not likely to be sent to rehab but anyone convicted of a DUI may have to go through some level of alcohol or drug abuse education and counseling.

As part of almost any conviction for a DUI in California, the defendant's sentence will include DUI school. DUI school is an education and counseling program that includes an evaluation of substance abuse treatment and one-on-one counseling sessions. If you want to get your driver's license back after a DUI, you will likely have to go to DUI school.

If you are thinking about rehab or have a substance abuse problem, you may want to consider rehab regardless of any criminal charges. Alcohol addiction can be serious. Going “cold turkey” after an alcohol addiction can lead to serious medical issues, including seizures and possible death. Talk to experienced substance abuse medical professionals who can help.

Why should I go to AA after a DUI if I don't have a problem?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) generally involves meeting with others who have a desire to stop drinking alcohol. Recovering alcoholics have local meetings where they share their experiences and offer person-to-person “sponsorship” to other recovering alcoholics.

Going to AA may be required as part of DUI school programs. However, even if not required to attend AA meetings, others can benefit from AA meetings when faced with a DUI. When defendants appear before a judge for sentencing, the judge generally wants to see that the defendant is taking the charges seriously, and is taking steps to change their situation. For individuals charged with drunk driving, voluntarily attending AA meetings can be meaningful for some judges.

Attending AA meetings may have a greater impact on individuals facing a second or multiple DUIs. Multiple DUIs can be a sign of substance abuse and a judge may be more willing to consider the defendant seeking out help as a sign of rehabilitation and seeking out sobriety.

What kind of alcohol treatment is involved in DUI school?

California DUI schools involve both education and counseling components. This may include educational sessions, watching videos, intake sessions, group counseling, and individual counseling. DUI school for multiple DUIs may involve more intense requirements, including community service, AA meetings, regular interviews, and monitoring.

Individuals participating in DUI school are also expected to be sober during treatment. DUI schools who suspect a participant may be under the influence may require breath testing or other chemical testing. Being under the influence during DUI school can result in getting kicked out of the program.

The specific program for DUI school depends on the criminal charges. DUI school programs after a conviction can range from 12 hours to a 30-month program, as follows:

DUI Charge

DUI School Program

“Wet Reckless”

12 Hour

1st DUI (Below 0.20% BAC)

3 month

1st DUI (BAC 0.20% or higher)

9 month

2nd “Wet Reckless”

9 month

2nd DUI

18 month

3rd or more DUI

30 month

Do I have to go to alcohol or drug rehab after a second or third DUI in California?

A one-time drunk driving arrest is often the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, a second, third, or fourth DUI can be a sign of substance abuse. When someone is arrested for a second DUI, the driver may have a problem drug or alcohol abuse.

When facing multiple DUI charges, seeking out treatment can be more important. This includes going to rehab, attending AA meetings, or getting medical treatment, even before sentencing. After multiple DUI convictions, DUI school programs are longer and have more requirements. This includes counseling sessions and can involve chemical testing to make sure the individual isn't under the influence at the time of DUI school.

Experienced East Bay DUI Attorney

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience in Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws and judges involved in East Bay DUI cases. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today with any questions about your DUI charges in California.

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