DUI school, or an alcohol education program, is a kind of program that teaches DUI offenders the dangers of alcohol consumption, especially when combined with driving. Such programs are often run by government organizations; they are usually attended by court order or as part of the process toward reinstating an offender's driving privileges. The typical DUI school offers in-depth instruction about the dangers of alcohol, requires the student to remain completely alcohol-free as long as school is in session, and may also require students to visit DUI victims in hospitals or give presentations to younger ages about the dangers of drinking and driving.
In some cases, a DUI offender might be court-ordered to attend DUI school as a part of their sentence. This is more often the case with first-time offenders who might be able to avoid a harsh probation or jail time if they agree to attend certain classes and engage in community alcohol awareness activities. Even offenders who don't escape strict probation sentences often end up in DUI school as a part of the program toward reinstating driving privileges. In this case, a court-appointed counselor, rather than a judge, may hold most of the cards, deciding whether a restitution process will include an alcohol education program.
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In place of DUI school, one might be able to opt to participate in other alcohol treatment programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This might be deemed a suitable option if the offender exhibits signs of alcoholism that require more extensive therapy. In the end, however, it's often up to a counselor or judge to decide whether an offender must attend DUI school, and if so, what kind of alcohol education program they should be ordered to attend.
Just because DUI schools are often run by the local government doesn't always mean they're free. In many cases, the offender must pay fees for the school on top of the other considerable fees associated with a DUI sentence; total DUI fines can amount to thousands of dollars and include fees for court, counselors and attorney services. Even after someone has completed their probation period, court-ordered requirements, and paid fines, there's still often a fee required for reissuing a driver’s license. This makes DUI school just one of the many expenses associated with a DUI conviction.
DUI school sometimes requires students to meet their victims, or victims of other DUI offenders, and apologize for their actions. This gets at the crux of DUI programs; by making DUI sentences emotionally and financially difficult, authorities hope to decrease someone's odds of becoming a repeat offender.