What are DWI Classes?

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  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal act committed when an individual operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, like drugs or alcohol. When a person is charged with this crime, a judge, in a court of law, frequently orders the offender to attend DWI classes, in addition to other sanctions that may be imposed. Many times, these mandatory courses are part of a much larger sentence that can include jail time, suspension of a driver's license, and an out-patient or residential drug and alcohol treatment program. Driving while under the influence of a mind-altering substance inhibits a person’s ability to safely control an automobile, and is frequently the result of myriad fatal collisions worldwide.

Most of the time, DWI classes are taught by an instructor, in a classroom setting. Written literature may be combined with recorded media to educate students about the effects that controlled substances have on the mind and the body. Lectures often include discussions about the decreased reaction time and impaired judgment of intoxicated drivers. These specialized classes are designed to educate the offender about the hazards of using mind-altering substances while driving a car, along with the dangers and symptoms of addiction. The purpose of requiring attendance is to prevent future recurrence by informing drivers of the serious consequences of their reckless actions, which are often the cause of serious injury or death.


In the United States, DWI classes usually must be approved in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed, in order to fulfill the court’s requirement. Upon successful completion of the course, a certificate is generally provided, which can then be produced to the court or probation officer to prove attendance and compliance. The amount of class time may vary by jurisdiction, as well as other circumstances of the infraction.

If a fatality results from the act of DWI, or if the driver is a repeat offender, this class may take up to a year to complete, along with other punishments imposed by the court. Otherwise, general DWI classes can take a few days, weeks, or months of attendance to fulfill compliance. Particularly in the case of first-time offenders, DWI classes are ordered by a judge as a condition for reinstatement of an individual's driver's license, to avoid detention, or even in addition to a jail sentence. Class attendance is typically required as a provision of parole or probation.



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