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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Alcohol assessment and education programs following a DUI

Washington residents who are convicted of driving under the influence could potentially face serious consequences. However, some of the penalties could be avoided if the court orders include mandatory alcohol education. This option is often given during a suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of an accused person's probation. In some cases, if they complete the terms of their alcohol education, they could potentially have their driver's licence restored.

Alcohol assessments can be required by both the state DUI criminal courts and by the department of motor vehicles. The assessment and education program is usually conducted before the trial but is taken into account during the sentencing. The assessment will determine if the defendants hav alcohol abuse problems and may help them get into a treatment program. When it comes to the education program, the driver must complete the course in order to have their driving privileges reinstated.

The duration of any ordered education or treatment program will depend on a variety of factors. For example, a person who has prior DUI convictions may have to undergo a longer education program than someone who only has one conviction. First-offender alcohol programs usually run up to 12 weeks or approximately 36 hours of coursework. Some programs can run as long as 30 months for the most severe cases.

Those who are arrested for drunk driving may want to have their attorney work out an agreement that allows the person to seek alcohol education or rehabilitation help. If these programs are successfully completed, the consequences could potentially be reduced and may allow them to seek help for an alcohol addiction.

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