DUI Classes for First-Time Offenders: What to Expect

Any driver convicted of a DUI in California must attend DUI school within three weeks of sentencing. You must have a court order or notice of suspension from DMV to enroll in a DUI program.  An experienced DUI Attorney from DUI hotline can advise you on the basics of fulfilling DUI school requirements. Drivers may qualify for a restricted license while attending a DUI class. Contact your DUI attorney for more information on the advantages of a successfully completed DUI class.

DUI Checkpoints on Facebook

DUI Checkpoints on Facebook

A DUI class is designed to educate drivers on the importance of drug and alcohol free driving. The course reiterates how a DUI can endanger your life and the lives of other drivers and scar your legal record for 10 years or more. Instructors help DUI students learn how to change their attitude about drinking and behave more responsibly behind the wheel. Classes offer lectures, videos and group discussions about California’s DUI laws, and many include one-on-one counseling and general alcoholism and drug abuse education.

Your DUI attorney can help you find the best program for your schedule and location.. Programs designed for first offenders, but there are 18 month and 30 month programs for multiple offenders.

DUI schools are privately owned and operated and must adhere to curriculum elements set by the state. California’s ADP (Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs) licenses over 400 programs for individuals convicted of a DUI

DUI programs for first-time offenders consist of two 12 hour programs, a three month program or a nine month program.  Here are brief descriptions of each program:

12 Hour Wet Reckless DUI Program

The SB 1176 Wet Reckless School is designed for first-time offenders convicted of a wet reckless, a lesser charge for driver who have a BAC under 0.8. It consists of six weekly two hours classes.  You’ll pay up to $240 for this class, but the fee may be waived if you prove you can’t afford it.

12-Hour Underage DUI Class

California has some of the toughest underage DUI laws in the country. Individuals under 21 with a BAC of 0.01% or more receive an underage DUI conviction. (for most people, one beer or one glass of wine results in  a 0.01% BAC). An AB 803, for minors under 21 convicted of a DUI, consists of a two hour class once a week for six weeks. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 convicted of a DUI must take this class. It costs about as much as the wet reckless program.

Three Month DUI Class

The AB 541 DUI class is the most common school for first-time offenders. It’s a probation requirement for simple first-time DUI convictions. The judge presiding over your DUI case may order to attend a nine-month DUI class if you had a BAC of over 0.20%. (see below). The three month class involves 10-15 classes for a total of 30 hours. Students are expected to participate in the individual counseling sessions, though it’s not mandatory for them to be active in the group counseling sessions or classroom education. These three-month DUI programs cost around $600. You can’t miss more than five classes without being dropped from the program.

 Nine Month DUI Class

The judge will order you to attend a nine-month DUI class if you’re a first-time offender with a BAC of  0.20%  or higher, or  if you’ve been convicted of a  wet reckless and have another wet reckless or DUI conviction in the last ten years The AB 1353 nine-month DUI school This 60-hour class consists of group counseling and alcohol education, with more intensive individual therapy sessions than the shorter DUI programs. Participants are allowed seven absences before they are dropped from the program. The cost of the AB 1353 DUI program is around $1200.

If you’re unsure of how to proceed after being assigned to a first-time DUI class by a judge, consult your DUI lawyer for more information. Successfully completing a DUI class will help you regain your driving privileges and empower you with a more responsible attitude toward drinking and drug use.

You can check out the list of current California DUI programs here


View a Fact Sheet about California DUI programs here:


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