DUI Programs in California

In California, the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is covered under Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code. If someone is found guilty of DUI under Sec. 23152, he or she will face a number of penalties, such as driver’s license suspension, probation, fines, the possibility of jail time, and alcohol education classes.

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the mandatory alcohol education classes imposed upon individuals convicted of DUI in California, of which there are four different programs. According to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), “These programs are designed to enable participants to consider attitudes and behavior, support positive lifestyle changes, and reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and/or drugs.”

In California, all individuals convicted of driving under the influence must complete a DUI program licensed by DHCS in order to keep or reestablish their driver’s license; however, the Department of Motor Vehicles is the agency that ultimately decides whether or not to permit someone with a DUI conviction to drive in California. The DMV renders its decisions after reviewing the individual’s driving history and personal circumstances.

What Types of Drunk Driving Programs Are There?

As we mentioned earlier, there are four different types of drunk driving programs in California, which include:

  1. The Wet Reckless Program, which is a 12-hour alcohol education program designed for people who commit a reckless driving offense with any amount of alcohol in their system.
  2. The First Offender Program, which is for first-time DUI offenders. The length of this program is determined by the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The first offender program is broken down into: 30 hours, 44 hours, or 60 hours.
  3. The 18-Month Program is designed for second and subsequent DUI offenders.
  4. The 30-Month Multiple Offender Program is for certain offenders who have three or more DUIs on their record. The County decides which hardcore DUI offenders are required to complete this program. Individuals in this program have to perform up to 300 hours of community service, in addition to 78 hours of group counseling and 12 hours of drug and alcohol education.

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