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Finding a DUI Treatment 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.

Struggling with Addiction? Get Help Now

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.

Finding a DUI treatment program starts with learning about the options available to you. This chart may help, but know that your options can vary dramatically depending on what your state allows.

 What is it?Who is it for?How much does it cost?Is it required?
Inpatient careYou move into a facility and work on your drinking around the clockPeople who might return to drinking if they live at home$43,446The court may order this option
Outpatient careYou live at home and work on your drinking in a series of appointmentsPeople who have a support system at home that can help them$7,219The court may order this option
Online optionsYou live at home and use telemedicine to address your drinkingPeople with a significant amount of support at homeVariesThe court may order this option

Understanding Your Treatment Expenses

We’ve outlined some traditional costs of treatment for addiction, but your DUI expenses can vary. For example, some states have programs crafted for people who are convicted of a DUI, and those fees are different from those we’ve listed above.

For example, in Oregon, people convicted of a first-time DUI can enroll in a DUI diversion program and avoid some of the consequences associated with a conviction. The expected fees can include the following:

  • Fines: $1,400
  • Evaluation: $150
  • Victim impact panel: $50
  • Treatment: $2,000 to $3,000
  • Hardship application: $200
  • Device to measure alcohol levels before you drive: $1,800
  • Legal fees: $3,000 to $5,000

In Connecticut, the fee structure is a little different. People convicted of drug or alcohol crimes can enroll in a drug court program and pay a $100 application fee and a $100 evaluation fee. They then pay between $350 and $500 for treatment programs that last between 10 and 15 sessions. Courts can waive these fees if people can’t pay them, but most people are expected to pay.

Each state has different programs, and each person has different convictions. You may not be eligible for some of your state-run drug courts, or you may be required to pay for care in your state. Your lawyer can tell you more.

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
  • Fines
  • Insurance rate increases (SR-22)
  • Mandatory DUI alcohol treatment program completion
  • Alcohol awareness program attendance

What Happens During and After DUI?

State laws dictate things like the fees you pay and the consequences you’ll face. The penalties can vary significantly from place to place. However, most DUI cases involve very similar steps. They can include the following:

You’re Pulled Over

You’ve had too much to drink, and you slipped behind the wheel and started to drive. An officer notices that you’re driving in a manner that is closely associated with drinking. Perhaps you were weaving, or you blew through a stop sign.

The Police Investigate

To determine your intoxication level, the police might ask you to participate in a roadside sobriety test or breathe into a device that measures your alcohol level. If you fail these tests, the police will arrest you.

When you arrive at the police station, officials may perform more tests to accurately assess how much you drank. That could involve blood or urine tests.

You’re Booked for DUI

If the police determine that you are intoxicated and driving, they’ll take your driver’s license and place you in jail. You’ll stay there until someone comes to pay your bail or the court releases you. Upon your release, you’ll get a paper license until the court determines whether to suspend your license.

You’ll Prepare for Court

You must plead your case in front of the court and hear about what consequences you might face. At this point, you’ll need to start finding a DUI treatment program.

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.

What Happens if You Don’t Comply?

A DUI is serious, and a case comes with a court order. You’re required to follow those orders to the letter, and if you don’t, the consequences can be severe.

Courts can impose penalties such as the following:

  • Fines
  • Wage garnishment
  • Loss of your driving rights
  • Jail time

These consequences shouldn’t be surprising. You’ll be notified about them via paperwork delivered to your home, or your lawyer will hear about the issue and notify you. A law enforcement officer could even come to your home and take you away in handcuffs.

Entering treatment may not sound like fun. You may have plenty of other things you’d rather do. However, it’s not smart to ignore a court order entirely. Doing so could limit your future freedoms.

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.

First-Time Offenders

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.

Second-Time Offenders

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.

Third-Time Offenders

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.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated March 15, 2024
  1. Estimated Traffic Deaths in First Half of 2021 the Highest in 15 Years. (October 2021). Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  2. The DUI Game: A Study of a Psychoeducational Intervention for DUI Level II Education. (June 2022). Journal of the International Trauma Training Institute.
  3. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol: Findings from the NSDUH, 2002-2017. (April 2020). ScienceDirect.
  4. What Is A.A.? Alcoholics Anonymous.
  5. Arrested for a DUI: What to Expect. Nolo.
  6. Average Cost of Drug Rehab. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics
  7. How Much Does a DUI Cost in Oregon. Romano Law.
  8. Drug Treatment Programs for Offenders. (November 2010). Connecticut General Assembly.
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