Facts About DUI Treatment for First-Time Offenders
Wed, 15 Dec 2021 16:42:47 +0000
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Are you concerned because your child is a first-time offender with a DUI?
Would some facts about the process help you?
This is a guest post by Lauren Kunis of Stonewall Institute.
Driving under the influence, otherwise known as DUI, is a common offense among many drivers. Yet many drivers, young and old, are not aware of or well-informed about the consequences and implications of a first-time offender. Some people think the repercussions will be light since it’s only the first time.
People who like to believe that DUI is nothing but a simple rookie mistake are the reason why substance use disorders-related arrests are common in the U.S.
First-time offense or not, drinking and driving is never right. Any driver under the influence while on the road can put anyone in their way in grave danger – passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians diligently following road safety regulations. Any way you look at it, driving under the influence is a crime.
Just like any crime, offenders have to do whatever the courts – and the law – requires of them.
The law varies from state to state, and most first-time DUI offenses are typically categorized as misdemeanors. However, this does not mean that offenders are free from consequences.
Usually, the requirement for first-time offenders are the following:
Driver’s license suspensionFinesProbation (at least six months maximum)Jail time (in some cases)Community serviceMandatory use of an ignition interlock deviceFirst-time offenders can also be mandated to go for professional treatment, although this is often on a case-to-case basis. Most offenders who go for treatment do so because they want to avoid repeating their offenses. It’s vital to note, though, that going into treatment does not necessarily mean placing the person into an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
Before determining what treatment a first-time offender should receive, an assessment must be done first. Information about the following is taken into consideration:
- Personal background
- Substance use history
- Criminal history
- Offense details
- If there are mental health conditions (current)
- Current living conditions
- Other relevant personal details
Treatment will vary according to the circumstances and whatever the courts decide. There will be differences in length, frequency, and levels of care.
Getting an alcohol assessment is vital for first-time DUI offenders. This provides a clear picture of the magnitude of the offender’s involvement with alcohol or drugs. An alcohol assessment helps determine how long and frequent the offender should attend DUI classes.
If a first-time offender recorded a BAC of below 0.20%, they must attend DUI school for 30 hours for three months. Once the offender completes this, their driver’s license suspension can be reduced, or they can temporarily enjoy driving privileges.First-time offenders who returned a higher BAC level must complete a more extended DUI school program. The classes can last for 30 months.Treatments and Programs for First-Time DUI Offenders
Driving under the influence is dangerous because it can affect the driver’s depth perception, motor coordination, and reaction time. It also causes drivers to exhibit intense emotions. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to make a fair judgment if driving under the influence.
This is why states have strict laws against DUI, whether the involved driver is a first-time offender or not.
The dangers of driving under the influence are why court-mandated DUI treatment and education programs are vital. Completing such programs is essential if a first-time DUI offender wants to get back the legal right to drive again.
Aside from helping offenders avoid committing the same crime over and over, treatment programs also help them realize the dangers of intoxicated driving and, in the process, ensure sustained recovery. Offenders’ awareness about the effects of drunk driving, including the ability to point out driving patterns and alcohol use, helps pull them away from the possibility of becoming repeat offenders.
Here are some of the programs intended for first-time DUI offenders:
1. First-time Offender Program
Some states have a first-offender program for first-time DUI offenders. The program’s objective is to prevent repeat offenses, and it focuses on assigned restrictions and treating alcohol abuse.
Also included in first-time offender programs are the following:
- Completion of DUI classes or substance abuse education classes
- Abstaining from alcohol and drugs
- Testing for alcohol and drugs
- The issuance and installation of IID or ignition interlock devices on offenders’ vehicles (particularly for those with restricted driver’s licenses)
- Counseling sessions (individual and group)
- If a first-time offender cannot complete the program, the court will impose penalties.
2. DUI Diversion Programs
Some states require first-time offenders to participate in DUI diversion programs, which is an opportunity to rehabilitate before facing the court for their penalties. In most cases, if an offender completes the program, there is a possibility that the DUI charges will be dismissed or deleted from their records.
DUI diversion programs typically involve the first-time offender, and their lawyer will come up with a compromise with the prosecutor. They expect the offender to plead guilty to the DUI charge and sign up for the diversion programs.
Only DUI offenders with no prior convictions, no pending criminal charges, no prior participation in a diversion program, and no extensive criminal history can be admitted into the DUI diversion programs.
DUI diversion programs should be willing and capable of paying fees and fines that could total approximately $1000.
Offenders will need to complete a recommended DUI treatment in addition to an alcohol and drug evaluation.
In some states, diversion programs are only for repeat offenders (3rd or 4th offense).
3. Court-ordered DUI Treatments
Court-ordered DUI treatments are typically one or a combination of a local alcohol support group like Alcoholics Anonymous, a medical detox program, and an outpatient or inpatient alcohol recovery program.
All offenders work with a qualified, professional counselor for an alcohol evaluation before entering them into any court-ordered DUI treatment program.
Other possible first-time DUI offender treatment options include:
- Intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- Partial hospitalization program.
- Aftercare programs.
- Dual diagnosis treatments in cases where mental illness coexists with substance use.
- Group meeting with a licensed therapist.
Benefits of DUI Treatment Programs for First-Time Offenders
First-time offenders who undergo DUI treatment programs will enjoy the following benefits:
- Gaining better education and vital information about the dangers of alcohol or substance use
- Learning how to prevent and identify developing alcohol or substance use disorder
- Efficient alternatives to substance use, such as healthy coping mechanisms
- Higher chances of lessening the severity of their DUI court sentence
If you – or someone you know, are a first-time DUI offender and would like to avoid getting jail time, get in touch with a treatment or rehabilitation center so you can start your journey to recovery.
All In Solutions Counseling Center is a drug and alcohol abuse treatment network. We outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment programs that are tailored to meet each client’s needs. Our specialized programs include:
- Faith-based rehab
- Medication-assisted addiction treatment
- Art therapy for addiction
- Men’s addiction treatment
- Female-only addiction treatment
Our locations include:
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