Finding a DUI Treatment Program
Last Updated Dec 2, 2021
Driving under the influence is a serious offense that comes with severe consequences if one is convicted of a DUI. Treatment programs are generally court-ordered and vary from state to state.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 1.5 million drivers are arrested each year on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. This number represents around 1 in every 120 drivers on the road.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently asserted that 20,160 people died through June 2021 while driving America’s roads. This number represents an 18.4% increase over 2019. These traffic deaths were caused in large part by reckless driving, impaired driving, and not wearing safety belts. Drunk driving contributes to a large number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on an annual basis.
Are There Specific Treatment Programs for DUIs?
After getting a DUI, an individual will most likely spend some amount of time in jail. If it is a first-time offense, the person will generally spend a night or two in jail and be released on their own recognizance.
After being released from jail, they will be given a court date. Legal representation is often sought to avoid harsher punishment.
However, if the individual is charged and found guilty of driving under the influence, whether they have a lawyer or not, they will generally be required to complete a treatment program that will help them avoid such behavior in the future.
Each state has its own way of dealing with DUIs as well as minimum penalties and requirements for completion. DUI treatment programs have specific requirements that need to be completed, usually within a specific timeline.
Consequences of Getting a DUI
There are more than a few consequences that come with getting a DUI. In many states across the country, an individual who gets a DUI will experience the following:
- Loss or suspension of driver’s license
- Required IID (ignition interlock device) when driving privileges are restored
- Insurance rate increases (SR-22)
- Mandatory DUI alcohol treatment program completion
- Alcohol awareness program attendance
Are DUI Treatment Programs Court Ordered?
Most DUI treatment programs are court ordered and need to be completed in order to restore driving privileges. Individuals who refuse to complete a DUI treatment program will not be able to drive legally until a DUI program and all other requirements are completed.
Most often, an individual working through a DUI treatment program will have to meet with their judge at least once to go over progress made and provide documentation that supports their progress.
Length of DUI Treatment Programs
The length of a DUI program depends on the state in which the infraction occurred as well as the number of prior DUIs the individual in question has on their record.
For a first-time DUI offender, DUI treatment programs can generally be completed in 6 months or less. In many cases, a first-time DUI offender will pay a fine, have their license suspended for 90 days, and be required to attend alcohol awareness classes.
A second-time DUI offender will find themselves in a lengthier program. Many DUI treatment programs for second-time offenders last 18 months or longer. Driver’s license suspension is also longer in duration, and the individual may be required to have an ignition interlock device for a year or longer.
A third DUI is taken extremely seriously, and it is a felony rather than a misdemeanor. A third DUI can result in a lengthy jail sentence. But generally, if an individual attends a 30-month DUI treatment program, they can likely avoid lengthy incarceration.
Expected Outcomes of a DUI Treatment Program
The idea behind a DUI treatment program is to have an individual take a closer look at their alcohol consumption habits as well as their decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated.
DUI treatment programs are geared toward raising awareness. Many are careful not to condemn participants to never drink again, but to encourage them to drink in a more mature and responsible way.
Treatment programs often require 12-step group attendance. In the case of DUIs, AA attendance is often mandatory. In order to join a 12-step group, an individual must have a desire to stop drinking. This is actually the only requirement of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In the end, a DUI treatment program is intended to help an individual get back to driving legally and give them useful tools that will help them avoid getting another DUI in the future.
How to Find a DUI Program
Generally, if a court of law orders an individual to attend a DUI treatment program, the court itself will provide court-approved options for treatment.
Finding a DUI treatment program will come down to location and cost. It is a good idea to find a program close to home, especially if the individual’s driver’s license has been suspended.
What Are the Signs of a Good Program?
The hallmarks of a good DUI program include cost-effectiveness, the courses and education provided, as well as faculty or staff experience.
When it comes down to it, driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious matter. DUI treatment programs are used to inconvenience and educate the individual as a way to deter them from such behavior and actions in the future.
Estimated Traffic Deaths in First Half of 2021 the Highest in 15 Years. (October 2021). Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The DUI Game: A Study of a Psychoeducational Intervention for DUI Level II Education. (June 2022). Journal of the International Trauma Training Institute.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol: Findings from the NSDUH, 2002-2017. (April 2020). ScienceDirect.
What Is A.A.? Alcoholics Anonymous.
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