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Alcohol Education Policies in California

California's Alcohol Education Policy After Getting a DUI

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions in Fresno can include fines, jail time, and license suspension.  It usually includes an alcohol education class, as well.  These classes are ordered by the court, and, as a result of this, they will be required to renew your driver's license at the DMV.

These programs can prove to be good alternatives to other penalties. However, if you fail to successfully complete the alcohol education program, you will lose your license and if caught driving, you will be required to return to court to face further penalties.

These programs not only educate individuals on the effects of alcohol itself, but also introduces subjects such as lifestyle choices, social behaviors and attitudes towards alcohol and drugs.

Types of Alcohol Education Programs in California

The specific alcohol education program you will be required to attend will vary depending on whether you have been charged with DUI before as well as the severity of the particular offense.

  • Wet Reckless: Generally, if you have been convicted of reckless driving that included having a measurable amount of alcohol in your system, you will be required to complete a 12-hour DUI education program.
  • First Offense: Typically, if you have been convicted of your first DUI offense, you will be required to attend a 3-month, 30-hour alcohol and counseling program.  However, if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was .20% or higher on your first offense, you will be required to complete a 9-month, 60-hour program.
  • Multiple Offenses: If this is your second offense or more, you will be expected to complete an 18-month program.  This program will include 52 hours of group counseling, 12 hours of pure alcohol and drug education, and 6 hours of community reentry monitoring.  You are also required to attend biweekly individual interviews with program personnel for the first 12 months of the program.
  • Additional Programs: Depending on your county, you may be sentenced to a 30-month program.  This type of program includes 78 hours of group counseling, 12 hours of pure alcohol and drug education, 120-300 hours of community service, along with regularly scheduled individual interviews with program personnel.

Programs such as these are meant to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders as well as allow the opportunity for class participants to have the forum to address any alcohol or drug related issues or concerns they may have.

What are the Requirements for an Alcohol Education Program in California?

These educational courses are located throughout the state and are required to be licensed in order to become a part of this network of programs.To be licensed, the program must first be recommended by a county board of supervisors.  Next, the candidate must offer evidence of sufficient financial, administrative, and operational capabilities that are required to run a program of this kind.  Furthermore, the facility must be a clean, safe, and healthy environment for those attending the class.  Once the facility passes a final review and approval process, they will become licensed in California.

Currently, there are more than 250 first time offender programs, over 200 multiple offender programs, and over 35 30-month programs that are state-licensed and offering education classes in California.

Do You Need a Defense Attorney?

After a DUI or any other alcohol related arrest, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.  A skilled Fresno defense attorney can guide you through this process and review the facts of your specific case in order to create a proper defense strategy for you and your legal needs.  Oftentimes, a DUI attorney, with the proper arguments, can reduce the length of the DUI classes required.

What Happens Now?

Roadside arrest

It’s a frightening situation. You are arrested for DUI after submitting to a breathalyzer and participating in a couple of field sobriety tests. The officer confiscated your driver’s license and provided you with a temporary license. You were given a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Now what? Fresno DUI attorney, Terry A. Wapner, can help you make sense of this situation, guide you through the process, and might be able to provide the defense that results in finding you Not Guilty!

Myths & Truths About DUI Charges


Myth: “There is nothing that a Fresno DUI defense lawyer can do.” Truth: Absolutely not true. Over the past 7-10 years, the conviction rate in California for DUI's is only around 70 percent. That means that 30 percent of the charges are being reduced to charges that are less than a DUI charge or not guilty verdicts are being returned. I have the ability and have won Fresno DUI cases. Do not give in to despair and believe that you are destined to lose. Entering a guilty plea to a DUI charge when the evidence against you can be challenged may result in an expensive mistake that could haunt you in the long run.