Drunk driving statistics show that as many as 140,000 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes in the United States annually. Therefore, it is important to understand the legal ramifications, potential consequences, and courses available to help you become a safe driver.
In Illinois, being convicted of a DUI can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. But in addition to these penalties, those convicted of a DUI may also be required to attend DUI classes or risk education courses. As such, it is important to understand what DUI classes entail and how they can help you stay safe on the roads.
For more information regarding your DUI charge and what you can do to lessen the sentence, contact our experienced Chicago DUI defense attorneys today and get your case started NOW!
What Is a DUI Class?
A DUI class also called a risk education class or impaired driving program, is an educational course or program designed to help reduce the incidence of drunk driving. The primary aim of DUI classes is to educate participants about the impact of alcohol on behavior, decision-making, and driving ability. Participants learn about the dangers of drinking and driving, including car accidents, fatalities, legal penalties, and strategies for avoiding impaired driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half (47%) of motor vehicle fatalities in Illinois are related to alcohol. Taking a DUI class can be an important first step in learning how to make smarter decisions and keeping yourself and others safe on the roads.
Types of DUI Classes
There are several types of DUI classes offered in Illinois. These include:
These classes are typically self-guided and provide a digital or printed certificate of completion upon successful completion.
This type of class focuses on strategies to reduce the likelihood of impaired driving, such as identifying potential risks before getting behind the wheel, understanding the influence of alcohol on decision-making, and practicing safe driving skills.
Substance Abuse Treatment
These classes are designed to help participants reduce the risk of alcohol abuse, including identifying any underlying mental health conditions that may be contributing to the problem.
If a participant’s risk level is deemed to be moderate or high, they may be required to attend one-on-one sessions with a professional counselor.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Participants may be required to attend meetings and/or treatment services after completing their DUI classes.
Court-Ordered DUI Classes in Illinois
Anyone who is found guilty of a DUI in Illinois is required to complete court-ordered DUI classes. The number of hours required for these classes depends on the severity of the offense, blood alcohol level at the time of arrest, or the individual's risk level, as determined by an evaluation. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, the risk level could be:
- Minimal Risk (minimum of 10 hours of DUI risk education)
- Moderate Risk (minimum of 10 hours of DUI risk education and 12 hours of substance abuse course/treatment)
- Significant Risk (minimum of 10 hours of DUI risk education and 20 hours of substance abuse course/treatment)
- High Risk (minimum of 75 hours of a substance abuse course/treatment)
In addition to court-ordered DUI classes, those convicted of a DUI in Illinois may face additional penalties. This could include a driver’s license suspension, increased insurance premiums, community service, and/or additional fines. Sometimes, people may face criminal charges and/or jail time.
How DUI Classes are Structured
Depending on the education program, DUI classes may be offered in person or online. In either case, classes are typically structured in an interactive and engaging way, with opportunities for group discussion and individual reflection.
For example, it may be structured as a series of lectures, group discussions, and/or videos. In addition to learning about the legal ramifications of a DUI, participants may be required to complete coursework and/or exams.
In addition to substance abuse education, classes may include instruction on coping skills, stress management, and healthy decision-making. The length of these classes can vary from a few hours over a weekend to several weeks of consistent attendance. The important thing is that participants complete all necessary coursework and receive a certificate of completion.
DUI Evaluation and Risk assessment
Before attending DUI classes, participants must complete an alcohol evaluation and risk assessment. This is conducted by a qualified professional designed to assess the individual’s risk level and determine how much a person should be fined, what kind of classes they should attend, and the type of treatment needed.
The evaluation may include a review of the individual's driving record, blood alcohol content level at the time of the offense, and any history of substance abuse. In addition to assessing the person’s alcohol use, the evaluation also looks at their driving record, criminal records, and other factors that may have contributed to the DUI.
DUI classes may be led by licensed professionals, such as social workers or professional counselors, with expertise in substance abuse treatment and DUI education. These professionals may use evidence-based therapies and educational materials to help individuals better understand the risks of impaired driving.
12-Step Support Groups
12-Step Support groups are a component of many DUI classes. Though not required, these groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their stories and develop coping skills. These groups also provide accountability and peer support while participants navigate the path without gateway drugs or alcohol toward recovery.
Upon successful completion of a DUI class, participants are typically given an official certificate of completion. This document is necessary to restore driving privileges and fulfill any court-ordered requirements.
What Happens After Finishing Your DUI Program?
Once you have completed your court-ordered DUI classes, it is important to stay on track. In addition to maintaining sobriety and avoiding further legal trouble, you should also consider attending voluntary treatment programs, such as individual therapy or outpatient care.
You may also want to join alumni communities and support groups to help you stay motivated and on track. This can provide a helpful source of accountability and motivation for individuals who are in recovery.
The Benefits of DUI Education
DUI education courses are beneficial for both individuals and communities.
- They provide an opportunity to understand the legal ramifications of impaired driving, the potential consequences of a DUI, and the importance of safe driving.
- They also offer resources to help individuals reduce the risk of impaired driving in the future, such as identifying potential risks before getting behind the wheel and strategies for avoiding impaired driving.
- These classes also help reduce the number of DUIs in a community, which in turn decreases the number of fatal car accidents and other motor vehicle-related injuries or deaths.
- They can also help reduce the potential financial burden of a DUI, such as insurance premiums and increased fines.
- They also allow individuals to understand the importance of substance abuse treatment and recovery.
What Happens if You Don't Complete DUI School?
If you fail to complete your DUI classes or do not comply with the court-ordered requirements, you may face additional penalties. This could include a loss of driving privileges, jail time, harsher fines, and/or additional criminal charges.
For instance, in Illinois, if you do not complete your DUI classes or fail to follow through with a treatment program, the court may order additional jail time or suspend your driving privileges. So, it is important to take these requirements seriously and to complete them in a timely manner
Contact Chicago DUI Defense Today!
If you have been charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is important to seek legal representation to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome. Chicago DUI Defense can help you navigate the legal process and determine the best course of action to take. Our experienced DUI attorneys have an extensive understanding of the law and are committed to helping you obtain a favorable outcome. Contact us today at (312) 800-1626 to discuss your case!