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What is DUI School in California?

After a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or a “wet reckless” in California, most drivers may be required to may be required to participate in a DUI program, or DUI school. DUI school may be ordered by the court as a condition of probation or be required by the DMV after a suspended license to get driving privileges returned.  

In general, the only way to avoid DUI school after a DUI arrest is to fight the criminal charges in court. An experienced East Bay criminal defense lawyer will help you understand the DUI penalties that go along with a conviction so you can challenge the criminal charges. If you have any other questions about DUI school in your case, please contact Gorelick Law Offices for a free consultation to talk about your rights and options.

What is California DUI school?

DUI school involves group participation and individual counseling. It is supposed to be an educational program and provide substance abuse counseling and evaluations. A typical program may involve group counseling, videos, lectures, group discussions, and an individual evaluation. The purpose of California DUI school is to:

  1. Reduce the number of repeat DUI offenses by persons who complete a state-licensed DUI program; and 
  2. Provide participants an opportunity to address problems related to the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

There are a number of DUI school programs, based on the specific DUI charges. Generally, anyone convicted of a DUI, multiple DUIs, or “wet reckless” in California is required to attend and complete DUI school. Some of the programs include: 

Wet Reckless (12-Hour Program)

The 12-hour “wet reckless” DUI school is the shortest of the DUI school programs. A wet reckless is available as part of a plea agreement where the defendant can agree to plead guilty to a wet reckless instead of the more serious DUI charge. A 12-hour program generally involves six two-hour classes. 

First DUI (30-60 Hour Program)

Most individuals convicted of a first-time DUI will have to go through the 30-hour program. However, if the driver had a BAC over 0.20%, he or she may have to go through a nine-month/60 hour program. The 30-hour program generally consists of educational classes, group counseling, and individual counseling. A 60-hour program may also require attending individual interviews and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. 

Second DUI and Multiple DUI (18-Month Program)

The DUI school program for a second DUI is much more intensive. A second DUI or some multiple DUI convictions will require an 18-month DUI school. This includes many group counseling sessions, drug and alcohol education, and bi-weekly interviews at the beginning of the program. This also involves a community reentry monitoring component. 

Third DUI and Multiple DUI (30-Month Program)

The maximum DUI school program is the 30-month program for certain individuals convicted of a second, third, or multiple DUIs. This program is not available in all countries. In counties where it is not available (like Alameda County and Contra Costa County), a judge may require the 18-month program as a condition of probation. 

Do I have to attend DUI school after a drunk driving arrest?

Drivers who are convicted of a DUI will generally be told the conditions of their probation or whether DUI school is a DMV requirement. Individuals will be responsible for finding a qualifying DUI school program, registering, attending, and providing proof of completion. 

In most cases, online DUI school is not valid in California for the DMV or DUI convictions. It may be available in limited circumstances where the individual lives out of state. Make sure any DUI school program qualifies before registration or it may not qualify for the purposes of getting your license reinstated or completing probation. 

Where do I find a DUI school program in Alameda County or Contra Costa County?

DUI schools are located all over Alameda County and Contra Costa County. The court or DMV should provide you with a list of qualifying DUI schools in your area. 

How much is a DUI school? What if I can't afford it?

Participants are responsible for the cost of DUI school. The cost of the DUI program varies depending on the specific course, ranging from about $300 for a 12-hour program to $800-900 for most three-month first DUI school programs. The 18-month program may cost more than $2,000. 

If you cannot afford DUI school because of financial need, financial assistance may be available. Financial assistance is available on a sliding scale. 

East Bay DUI Defense Attorney

Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI defense experience representing clients in the East Bay who are facing drunk driving and DUI drug charges. If you are facing criminal DUI charges in Alameda County and want to know your options, contact Gorelick Law Offices today.

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