A DUI conviction in Florida typically leads to several consequences and penalties for the defendant. One of the lesser-known consequences in Florida is mandatory alcohol education, which is sometimes colloquially known as “DUI school.” Here’s what you need to know about mandatory alcohol education in the state of Florida.
In general, DUI school is substance abuse counseling that is focused upon teaching students the consequences of drunk driving and ways in which to prevent driving drunk in the future. Different classes discuss the subject in different ways, but ultimately the emphasis is on candidly discussing substance abuse, the consequences to those around the individual with the substance abuse problem, and what the defendant can do to help themselves overcome their own substance abuse issues.
Also frequently discussed at DUI school is the impact drunk driving has upon strangers. Many DUI schools invite friends and family of those killed by drunk drivers to speak in order to drive home the seriousness of driving while drunk.
In Florida, certain DUI convictions require an education course to be completed before a defendant’s penalty is considered to have been served. Florida has two levels of DUI school:
Level I – minimum 12-hour course of classroom instruction that utilizes both passive and active methods for educating defendants on the dangers of DUI and how to avoid it in the future.
Level II – minimum 21-hour course that is mostly interactive and conducted in a group setting. Average classes must be no larger than 15 individuals. Curriculum focuses on the problem of repeat DUI offenses and alcohol treatment.
Florida law requires sentencing to DUI school in several situations:
If a first DUI conviction, DUI school must be completed before a hardship reinstatement is granted. If a defendant waits until the drivers license revocation has ended, he or she must show proof of enrollment or completion in such a program before the license is returned. If the defendant does not complete DUI school within 90 days of license reinstatement, the defendant’s license will be cancelled by the state.
After a second DUI conviction within five years of another such conviction, or after a third conviction within ten years of two prior convictions, defendants must complete DUI school after conviction.
If the defendant is convicted of DUI manslaughter but has no prior history of DUI convictions, they must complete DUI school in order to be eligible for qualifying for a hardship reinstatement.
In the case of a reckless driving conviction where alcohol or other controlled substances are involved, defendants must complete DUI school if ordered to do so by a Florida court.
One of the most popular DUI schools in Florida is run by Alcoholics Anonymous, sometimes known as “AA.” Alcoholics Anonymous operates group meetings in which frank and honest discussions of alcohol addiction and how to reclaim one’s life from it.
Another organization that runs popular DUI schools is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.). M.A.D.D. frequently partners with other organizations in sharing personal experiences of those affected by DUI in order to deter individuals from driving drunk in the future.