California's First Offender DUI Program

When a driver is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) under Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code, he or she will face a series of penalties, such as fines, driver license suspension, possible jail time, an Ignition Interlock Device requirement, DUI probation, and DUI School, which we’ll explore further here.

In California, there are four DUI programs, which basically involve drug and alcohol education and counseling. When someone is convicted of DUI, they are required to successfully complete DUI School. The four DUI programs include:

  1. Wet Reckless Program
  2. First Offender Program
  3. 18-Month Program
  4. 30-Month Program

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to discuss the First Offender Program because this is the one program that sees a lot of traffic. If someone is convicted of DUI and it is their first offense, they will be required to complete a 30-hour drug and alcohol education program, which lasts three months.

If it was the driver’s first DUI offense and he or she had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and it registered at 0.20% or higher, he or she will have to complete a longer First Offender Program. In the case of a BAC of 0.20% or above, the driver will have to complete a 60-hour drug and alcohol education program that will last nine months as opposed to the standard three months.


Most, if not all states have some form of court-ordered DUI School for their DUI/DWI offenders and California is no exception. DUI School serves many important purposes. It educates people on the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body and on driving.

DUI School teaches DUI defendants about alcohol’s impact on health, relationships, and overall wellbeing. It also helps people identify the root causes of their drinking behaviors so they can understand them and abstain from alcohol abuse in the future.

“These programs [DUI 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,” according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

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