DUI school is often a critical part of a person's sentence for a DUI plea or conviction. These "schools" are formally known as DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Programs and they are managed through the Department of Driver Services. All of the classes include the same materials, pricing, and curriculum no matter where you attend them in Georgia.
If you are looking for a DUI school in Atlanta, Georgia, an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney can help you pick the right class and help ensure you fulfill all of the requirements needed to defend your case and protect your rights.
There are many different DUI schools throughout the state of Georgia and in the Atlanta area specifically. Each different school has its own schedule of classes. Many defendants ask if they can complete their instruction online. However, all classes are in-person and require your attendance at every scheduled class.
Certain schools offer evening and weekend classes, but these offerings vary depending on the school you choose. The program's maximum duration is 20 hours, but the amount of hours you are required to attend could depend on your assessment.
The Department of Driver Services publishes a list of certified DUI schools, many of which are in Atlanta and the general area. You can look on this list and consult with your Atlanta DUI lawyer to figure out which class is right for you.
Before you ever attend your first class, you will undergo a Needs Assessment to determine what type of help you need. This assessment is actually a short "test" with around 130 questions concerning your drug and alcohol use, your views on that use, and any family history you may have regarding drugs and alcohol.
Your assessment is good for an entire year and is transferable between different DUI schools as well.
Who is Required to Attend DUI School in Atlanta, Georgia?
Under Georgia law, any person convicted of one of the following offenses is required to attend DUI school:
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI),
- possession of illegal drugs,
- underage possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, and
- boating under the influence (BUI).
While these offenses require you attend DUI school, a conviction or plea to another offense may still require your attendance at a DUI school on the order of your sentencing judge. This is especially common for those who plead to the lesser offense of Reckless Driving or some other related charge. The judge may still impose a requirement that you attend DUI school because he or she is aware that your offense likely stemmed from at least an accusation of the use of drugs or alcohol.
DUI School as a Defense Strategy
Sometimes the law or your sentencing judge does not require that you attend a DUI school (or has not required it yet). However, some attorneys use DUI school as a legal defense strategy, advising clients to attend it to show the judge you are serious. Some benefits to this strategy include, but are not limited to the following.
- Finishing DUI school before it is ordered by the court will show you are willing to take action to deal with an alcohol or drug problem.
- Completing DUI school will give you leverage going into negotiations with the Georgia prosecutor.
- If DUI school is already completed, it is one less thing to deal with after your case is resolved.
- If you are later found guilty of a DUI charge, your prior completion of the program will give your attorney leverage to ask for a lesser sentence.
Many people even choose to voluntarily attend these classes to help them deal with a true problem with drugs and alcohol. Not only can it help your criminal case, but it can help your life get back on track. Courts want to see a person take responsibility for his or her own life and often reward that person for it.
Where Can I Take DUI Classes?
DUI classes can be taken anywhere within the state of Georgia. So long as your class is with a certified DUI school, as certified by the Department of Driver Services, you may take your classes there. There are hundreds of schools throughout Georgia and a great many in the Atlanta area.
If you are considering taking a DUI class outside of the state of Georgia, you should consult with your attorney first to make sure your class credits will transfer. Otherwise, you may take a class outside the state and then be required to take one in the state of Georgia because the class did not transfer.
Intervention Programming in DUI School
A program called Prime for Life Intervention is approved for use in Georgia and is a copyrighted product of Prevention Research Institute, Inc. Prime for Life is a program that is aimed to help those inclined to drink alcohol or use drugs and who make poor and high-risk decisions because of their influence.
The program is designed to "prime" you to make better choices not affected by chemical substances. It provides techniques, support, and education on how to better your life and get out from under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
How Does the Program Work?
The program's goal is pretty simple: alter a person's drinking and drug use behaviors. The process is more complex. The program participant must change his or her beliefs and attitudes toward drinking and drug use. The scientific research on which the program relies helps to develop these changes.
The program is designed to be nonjudgmental, inclusive, and open.
The program does not approach this from a "moral" background preaching about right and wrong, but rather from a neutral perspective about the negative impacts these attitudes and choices can have on your life. This helps individuals taking part in the program to make life changes without feeling attacked, and hopefully in a way that helps to foster long-term positive change.
Consult an Atlanta DUI Attorney
DUI School is an important part of your DUI case, so it is important to consult with your experienced Atlanta DUI attorney to pick the right class and develop the best defense strategy. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.