Posted in Atlanta DUI Law on December 31, 2019
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, you can safely assume that participating in a DUI class will be part of the penalties. Officially referred to as a Court-Ordered DUI Risk Reduction Class, the courses are led by private individuals but regulated by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a DUI Class?
The Georgia DUI class is 20 hours in total. Some DUI schools structure their offerings so you can complete the course during one weekend, while others spread it out over the course of a week or longer.
Here’s a listing of Georgia DUI schools certified by the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
How Are Georgia DUI Classes Structured?
There are essentially two main components to the Georgia Risk Reduction Course for DUI.
The Assessment Component
This 130-question section assesses the level of your alcohol or drug use, and the effect either has on your driving. The school will then assign you to a particular DUI class based upon your responses to this section.
The Intervention Component
The Prime for Life motivational prevention program serves as the basis for the intervention part of the class. It’s designed to inspire a change in drinking and drug use and illustrate the dangers of using either. It usually features a lecture, discussion, and counseling in a group setting.
In order to meet the requirements of passing the DUI class, you must complete both components.
What Are DUI Classes Really Like?
Most DUI classes are not as boring as you may think. The material shows how impaired driving impacts your life and the lives of others you come into contact with.If you’re planning on hiding in the back and going through class anonymously, think again. DUI class leaders – and the court – encourage and expect you to be an active participant in class.
Are There Other Required Classes?
Depending on your case, you may be required to take part in a MADD Victim Impact Panel (MADD VIP).
Organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), these panel discussions include speakers who have been impacted by drunk drivers. This can include victims, members of a grieving family who lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, first responders (police, medical personnel, etc.) and others.
MADD VIP courses are offered periodically, require registration and they fill up quickly. Here’s a full listing of scheduled MADD VIP courses in Georgia.
If you’re facing a second charge for DUI within a 10-year period, you may be required by the court to undergo a clinical evaluation.
This one-on-one counseling session is done with a licensed substance abuse professional. You’ll likely be asked about your family life, alcohol use, and other questions about your background.
Clinical evaluations may also include:
- Random screenings for drug and alcohol use
- Probation for your DUI
- Attendance at AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, and
- Outpatient treatment programs.
Like the DUI classes, there is a host of clinical evaluation offerings throughout the state.
How Much do DUI Classes Cost?
Since the State of Georgia oversees DUI classes throughout the state, they also regulate the price.
The total cost is $355 ($100 for the Assessment Component; $235 for the Intervention; and $20 for a workbook).
Can I Transfer Between Schools?
There is a limited window of opportunity to transfer to another program, but it must be done after the Assessment Component.
Other requirements include:
- The cancellation of your Intervention Component
- You’ve moved at least 30 miles from the school you were contracted to attend, or
- There is an emergency that prevented you from attending (you’ll need approval by the Department of Driver Service).
Again, these are the only limited circumstances that can lead to you transferring to a different DUI school.
Is There an Advantage to Attending a DUI Class Without a Court Order?
Proactively attending a DUI class can be a heck of a bargaining tool if you’re facing other charges, like reckless driving.
This shows the court how serious you take the matter, and that you’ve made an effort grounded in good faith to address the situation, learn from it and move on with your life.
How Can I Avoid DUI Class?
Although DUI classes may seem like a hassle, they can be beneficial in accepting a lesser penalty for a more serious charge, like multiple DUI charges within a certain timeframe.
Remember, DUI classes are normally the result of a conviction. If you want to avoid them altogether, your best bet is to leverage the skill and expertise of a qualified DUI attorney.