At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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What Is DUI School? How Can It Help With My DUI Case?

A DUI School is something that is required as a condition of probation by the court when you’re convicted of a DUI. There are different levels of school. Typically if you’re under a 0.20 blood alcohol level, you’ll be required to do a three-month school, which is a 32-hour school. This school is educational and has group discussions, lectures, movies, and alcohol counseling. Expect to be called an alcoholic no matter what the situation of your case is when you walk into that school. Most people have to do the 32-hour or three-month school. It’s typically once a week on the same night or day of the week. They do have them on Saturdays for a lot of the schools and they have them in every county. Some counties have more than others. Sonoma County, Napa County and Marin County each have one school, which is too bad because that leads to overcrowding. Because the schools are not competing with other schools they often feel like they can treat people with less respect. They’re not in such a hurry to help get people enrolled. When there are more schools in a county, you tend to get better help especially from the programs which are individually owned. The companies that own some of these schools are not as helpful to individual needs. Counties like Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara have multiple DUI schools and they should because there are so many people in those counties and the people need options and schools in different locations in these larger counties.

DUI School is not going to help with an administrative hearing. The administrative hearing is a civil process that happens with the DMV, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and they’re trying to take away someone’s license. Going to a DUI school is not going to have an effect on an administrative per se hearing officer at DMV on how they’re going to rule on a case. If someone has a lower blood alcohol level, sometimes we can get their charges reduced. Often that would be a wet reckless, sometimes if we’re very lucky a dry reckless, but in most cases, it would be a wet reckless and that typically requires a 12-hour school. However, the problem is that if you do not win the DMV hearing, then that person would not be able to get a work-restricted license as most people can once they’re enrolled in a DUI school after 30 days of no driving.

Someone who gets a wet reckless, even though the court might only make them do a 12-hour school, might need to do the 32-hour three month program in DUI School because they want to be able to get a work-restricted license, which typically is available after you spend a month of no driving. There are ways to shorten that one month of no driving to sometimes make it almost zero days of no driving. It depends on the county that you’re in and the reporting time that it takes for the clerk’s office to get the information to the Department of Motor Vehicles. By getting into DUI School early, sometimes that can help get a judge to back-off a little bit on a sentence or get a DA to come down a little bit on their offer. In some counties it works especially when you’re on the fence with your numbers.

Your blood alcohol levels or breath test numbers are at a point where a prosecutor could go one way or the other and they need something to be swayed to get them to lower the charges or to give you a lesser penalty. I can show someone that you’ve already taken the steps by doing the things we were talking about before with programs and AA meetings and counseling. Part of that could be enrolling in a DUI school. If we know that there is a conviction that’s evident, there is no reason to delay in getting into your DUI School. That’s something that in some counties, I have seen judges, it’s rare when you see it, but lower a fine if someone’s already in a DUI school. I saw some judges do it in one county and they ended up getting transferred. Getting charges reduced is something that may be helpful if you’ve already enrolled in the DUI School. It’s nice to just be able to do something to start getting over the amount of hours that you’re going to have to spend there. It prevents prolonging, dealing with everything if you can get that school done quicker. That school is going to be required anyway in order to get a work-restricted license, which would allow you to drive to and from work and to and from the DUI school once your month of no driving is over, and that’s typically for the next five months or 10 months if your blood alcohol level is above a 0.20 and you plead to the high alcohol enhancement of being over a 0.20.

Can Someone Get Credit For Attending DUI School Prior To The Trial In A DUI Case?

Yes. What the DMV says is that as long as you start the school sometimes after your arrest date for the DUI, you will get credit for it.

For more information on DUI School In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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