The state tells you that after a DUI, you need to complete an education and counseling program if you want your license back. DUI school generally requires 30 plus hours of educational classes and counseling, in-person. With so many programs shut down and in-person classes canceled in California, how are drivers supposed to complete court-mandated DUI school?
DUI School in the Time of COVID
Alcohol and drug education is one of the many penalties associated with a DUI in California. A first-time arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can require the defendant to go through DUI school. DUI school completion is a requirement to get your driver's license reinstated. The state is having to adapt to providing these education and counseling programs remotely, in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak.
The East Bay of Alameda County and Contra Costa County have had some of the most serious lockdowns in California. Alameda and Contra Costa announced shelter in place orders on March 16, 2020, with some level of restrictions since. Over the course of more than a year, it has taken a lot of time to figure out how to handle court requirements for previously in-person classes like DUI school.
DUI School Requirements and Modifications
The state of California was very strict with the requirements for completing DUI school. It used to be that DUI school completion only allowed for limited excuses for not showing up. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) own website even says, “DUI classes offered via the internet DO NOT meet California's DUI Program requirements.”
Most first-time DUI convictions will require a 30-hour program education/counseling program. (A high BAC DUI may require a nine-month/60 hour program). The 30-hour program consists of educational classes, group counseling, and individual counseling. When the participant is enrolled in the program, they can get a DL 107 Proof of Enrollment Certificate to submit to the DMV.
However, since March 17, 2020, DHCS has had to issue a notice on DUI programs during COVID-19. Beginning immediately, where there were no written protocols, it was appropriate for the DUI program to suspend all services in response to COVID-19. The DUI programs were supposed to take a number of steps, including to communicate the changes to participants, the public, and the county and state.
As a result of the lockdowns, some DUI education programs are still operating through telehealth. “DHCS supports telehealth services for DUI Programs within state and federal requirements, given the importance of minimizing COVID-19 spread.” The California Association of DUI Treatment Programs (CADTP) has a list of programs providing enrollment services during COVID-19. There are a few programs currently operating in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, in Hayward, Newark, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, and Brentwood.
According to one of the programs currently operating, the DUI school program is delivering video-conference telehealth sessions for education classes. Only some DUI programs are available to be completed via video conference. There are also strict limitations including full session attendance, private and quiet settings, and restrictions on recording.
Alameda and Contra Costa DUI Defense
With over 37 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the penalties of a DUI conviction and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.