After you’ve worked with your St. Augustine DUI Attorney to get through your case and sentencing, a highly likely requirement will be a course at DUI school. Be a good student.
You’ve probably had a lot of questions throughout your DUI experience. And hopefully you had the right qualified DUI lawyer to guide you through. And now that you know your plea deal, sentence, or conditions of parole, you’re probably going to start wondering what it’ll be like satisfying one of those requirements…the DUI school. What will be taught? Who’s going to teach it? Where is it? What kind of people will be there? Is it hard? How long do I have to do it?
Did you not like school as a youngster? Then it’s doubtful you’re going to like this one. But you don’t have to like it, just appreciate it. You see, in addition to being a literal danger to yours and other innocent people’s lives, DUI’s are a real pain for the court system. The caseloads are heavy enough without you causing even more. The idea behind mandating alcohol awareness and treatment programs is to prevent you from repeating mistakes, continuing risky behavior, and winding up back in front of the judge with a second or third DUI. It’s also designed to help you identify and do something about a serious alcohol or drug problem. It may not feel like it, but this requirement truly is for your own good.
As for all those questions you have about DUI schools above, it varies state to state, county to county, and based on the factors involved in your particular arrest or infraction. In Florida and St. John’s County, all defendants convicted of a DUI must take and pass a Level I or Level II DUI course from a provider approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
The courses are taught by state-certified instructors. Like regular school, they come in every type imaginable. Luck of the draw. Many will be former DUI offenders or recovered addicts themselves who’ll be able to relate to exactly where you are and share their personal experiences. These typically aren’t people you can “put one over” on. They’ve heard it all, seen it all, know every denial, been offered every bribe to mark people present when they weren’t, etc. They also don’t argue with you about whether or not you belong there. That was already determined in court. There truly is no need to give them a hard time.
You’ll be exposed to a standard DUI curriculum probably presented as a mixture of lectures, slides, quizzes, discussion, maybe even guest speakers. Oh, did we mention you get to pay for the privilege of taking these required classes? You do. Below is a rundown of Level I and II details.
Level I: For first-time offenses
This is 12 hours of classroom evaluation and instruction. In general, you’ll learn how much damage a DUI can do (you’ve probably already got a really good feel for that), ways alcohol affects your reflexes and driving skills, how the law and public view drunk drivers, the psychological and physiological effects of alcohol and drugs, and ways to alter your behavior and attitude toward substance abuse. Pre-registering online is around $323.50 but registration won’t be complete until you visit a registration office. Registering in the office is around $306, so that’ll save you a little since you’ll have to go there anyway. They take credit cards. You have to register in the county where you live, work, or attend school. Some of the things you’ll need at registration are:
Level II: For DUI multiple offenders
At least 21 hours of classroom time. You can assume everything in Level I will be covered (again), but there’s additional focus on readiness for treatment. Maximum class size is 15, so there’s more group discussion and activities. This one’s around $425. You’ll need pretty much the same things to register as you did in Level I.
While you’re probably going to regard having to attend DUI school as a massive inconvenience, they’ve honestly worked to make it as convenient for you as possible. You can usually choose your own school, and the day and times that work best for you. But double then triple check that it is a certified school that will be accepted by your court. How lousy would it be to pay and take a course only to find out it won’t count and you have to do it all again? For DUI schools in St. John’s County, check out the Northeast Florida Safety Council. For schools in other counties, you can go to the FLHSMV DUI School Directory.
Once you’ve done all the required hours at your DUI school, there might be a final “test” you have to pass. It’s not exactly hard. If you’ve been listening and participating and taking the process seriously, you’re going to pass it. It’s not a “gotcha” or an attempt to cheat you out of the Certificate of Completion the court needs to see. It’s more to summarize and reinforce the most important things you should have learned. If you’ve worked really hard to ignore everything, it actually is possible to fail. But even then, the test can be retaken. Given the benefits of fully engaging, such as getting your license back and getting out of trouble with the court, it’d be enormously foolish trying to be a problem student.
Even if a friend has been to DUI school and told you what everything is like, the program you take, the instructor you get, and the experience you have are probably going to be quite different. In addition to handling your case, your St. Augustine DUI lawyer can help answer any questions about what class to take, how to register, and what kind of proof the court needs to see. Keep the number for Shoemaker Law, 904-872-SHOE, in your wallet or phone at all times.