As a condition of probation for driving under the influence (DUI) or a “wet reckless” in California, individuals may be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP). A VIP is a program put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for awareness to the impact of impaired driving. Whether or not you will be required to participate in a VIP after a DUI may depend on the types of charges, county, and even the specific judge. Most referrals to the victim impact panel are part of the DUI classes that may be ordered by the court as a condition of probation.
To avoid the multiple probation conditions that go along with a DUI conviction, drivers will have to fight the criminal charges in court. An experienced East Bay criminal defense lawyer will help you understand the consequences of a guilty plea or a DUI conviction so you can challenge the criminal charges. If you have any other questions about Victim Impact Panel, DUI School, or other DUI probation conditions, please contact Gorelick Law Offices for a free consultation to talk about your rights and options.
What is a Victim Impact Panel?
According to MADD, “the Victim Impact Panel Program is an awareness program for offenders convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The panels consist of a non-confrontational presentation consisting of crime victims telling their own personal stories of how impaired drivers forever changed their lives.”
A VIP in California may consist of three or four individuals who are victims of a drunk driving crime, including individuals who were hit by a drunk driver or family members who lost someone related to a DUI accident. The victims generally spend about 15 minutes telling their story, which is supposed to be in a non-judgmental manner.
The effectiveness of these programs is unclear. One survey found a 33.5% of a group of non-VIP participants were rearrested over a five-year period. Only 15.8% of the VIP participants were rearrested over a five-year period. However, the effectiveness of the VIP program appears strongest in the first two years following participation and drops off after.
Do I have to attend a Victim Impact Panel after a DUI?
Drivers who are convicted of a DUI will generally find out if they need to participate in a VIP when they are sentenced. A VIP requirement may be included with other probation conditions, which could also include:
- DUI School,
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID),
- Avoiding alcohol and/or drugs,
- Agreeing to preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) testing,
- Substance abuse treatment, or
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.
Where do I find a Victim Impact Panel in Alameda County or Contra Costa County?
Individuals who are looking for a Victim Impact Panel in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, or areas outside the East Bay can use the MADD VIP website to search for an upcoming panel in their area. Generally, there is at least one VIP scheduled each month. Online VIP programs are generally not available for individuals in California.
Alameda County VIP Locations
According the MADD website, some locations for current, past, or upcoming VIP programs include:
- Trans Pacific Building, Oakland, CA
- Dublin Civic Center Regional Meeting Room, Dublin, CA
- First Presbyterian Church, Hayward, CA
Contra Costa County VIP Locations
According the MADD website, some Contra Costa County locations for current, past, or upcoming VIP programs include:
- Brentwood Police Department, Brentwood, CA
- Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, Walnut Creek, CA
- Richmond City Council Chambers, Richmond, CA
- Contra Costa Probation Department, Martinez, CA
How much is a DUI Victim Impact Panel to attend?
Participants are required to register and pay for the VIP. Registration is usually around $25 plus additional fees. Online registration requires a credit card or debit card. Payment on site requires payment by money order or cashiers check. Individuals must bring a photo ID, case number, and arrive in time to check-in before the panel begins. Any rescheduling needs to be made a minimum of 24 hours ahead of time.
After attending the DUI VIP program, what do I have to do next?
Individuals are required to provide verification of attendance to the court, probation, or other agency to show proof of attendance. Registration or attendance will not automatically be reported to probation or the courts. The individual is responsible for keeping a copy of the completed Proof of Completion form and submitting it to the necessary agency or department.
East Bay DUI Defense Lawyer
A DUI conviction carries a lot of probation requirements and restrictions, including the possibility of having to attend a Victim Impact Panel. Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI defense experience representing clients facing drunk driving charges in the East Bay. If you are facing criminal DUI charges in Alameda County and want to know your options, contact Gorelick Law Offices today.