A DUI in Florida is much more than a costly traffic ticket. DUI is a first-degree misdemeanor offense that can lead to fines, incarceration, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), and a permanent criminal record if you’re convicted or plead guilty. These penalties can hinder your way of life and damage your reputation. To make matters worse, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars in court fees and the cost of DUI school—a program which is mandatory for first-time DUI offenders.
The courts may sentence first-time DUI offenders to DUI school in addition to of more severe punishments like court fines, license suspension, IID installation, or incarceration. Still, these classes are time-consuming and costly; you will need to open up your schedule to participate and pay out-of-pocket if you were convicted of or pleaded guilty to a first offense DUI in Florida.
What Is DUI School Like?
DUI school is an alcohol education program that informs participants how alcohol affects their bodily and cognitive functions. These courses typically cover the following topics:
- How alcohol impacts one’s ability to drive safely
- Florida traffic laws pertaining to driving under the influence
- The legal and administrative procedures that take place via the courts and DMV
- Alternatives to drinking and driving
- Available drug and alcohol resources
Severely Strict Requirements for DUI School Participants
Before signing up for a DUI school program, you should be aware of the strict rules you will need to follow to fulfill your sentence. Requirements and rules for participating in and passing these classes may include:
- You may be penalized for rescheduling a session unless you provide notice at least 5 business days ahead of your next appointment and have documentation of good cause.
- If you arrive late to a session, you will not be allowed to participate once the instructor has taken attendance. This will cause you to miss the class.
- If you miss any session, it will cancel out any work you’ve already put into the program. You will need to enroll a second time and will not receive credit for any sessions you participated in before the missed class. You will need to re-register and pay the full cost of the course a second time.
- If you fail to complete the course within the allotted time (such as 90 days), you may need to re-enroll at full cost.
- You may not use alcohol or drugs before or during class. The staff administering the class may conduct an alcohol test before you enter. You will cover the cost of these tests. If you’re found to be intoxicated, test positive on a breath test, or refuse to comply with the test, you will be asked to leave the classroom or evaluation. You will still need to pay 100% of the enrollment fee and attend all sessions again.
- You must attend classes by yourself. You may not bring children or guests to any session or evaluation, nor may they attend the registration process.
- You must dress and behave appropriately. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.
- To complete the program, you must attend all sessions, do all homework, attend all evaluations and pay all fees. You will not receive a certificate that states you have completed the program until these are met.
Your particular program may have additional rules. In general, it’s crucial to understand that failing to treat these sessions as a priority in your life may cause you to need to re-enroll and pay double the cost of the classes, since these fees may not be refunded or applied to the new class.
How Can I Attend DUI School During COVID-19?
Due to COVID-19, many approved DUI programs in Palm Beach County are available online. The specific course you will need to sign up for will depend on the facts of your case. The amount of time you will need to attend DUI school will depend on the charges against you. Typically, the DUI Level 1 course is reserved for those who have been charged with:
- Reckless driving
- Boating under the influence (BUI)
- Drug-related offenses
Offenders with no prior DUI charge and individuals who have not previously attended a DUI program may be ordered to enroll in the Level 1 program.
For How Long Will I Need to Attend DUI School?
The amount of time you will need to attend DUI school depends on the facts of your case. Factors that may be considered when ordering you to a particular course may include:
- The severity of your DUI
- Your BAC
- Prior DUI history
- Prior history of substance abuse
The judge may use their discretion when sentencing you to DUI school, and their decision may also vary by their personal biases they may have regarding alcohol use.
What You May Accomplish Upon Completing DUI School
The results of DUI school vary for each person; however, these classes aim to accomplish certain goals:
- To help you learn how to take responsibility for your alcohol use
- To help you learn the potential consequences of drinking and driving
- To help you commit to ending your alcohol dependence
- To help you make a plan for avoiding relapses
- To help you avoid drinking and driving in the future
Attending DUI school shows the court that you are taking responsibility for your actions. If you have any questions about next steps after being sentenced to enroll in a DUI program in West Palm Beach, contact attorney Brian Gabriel.
Advocating on Behalf of DUI Defendants for 30 years
The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has placed an emphasis on DUI defense in West Palm Beach for more than 30 years. Attorney Brian Gabriel has challenged the use of the Intoxilyzer 8000 as the approved breath test for evidentiary results in Florida. He understands the complexities of DUI cases, the science behind BAC test results, and how to craft a strong defense. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete a contact form.