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First time DUI offenders may receive probation, depending on the state where they reside, but probation has many implications.
Depending on your state, you may be required to complete rehab and make regular visits to a counselor. A California DUI class is a must for first time offenders in that state. Other states have their own requirements including fines, reports to a probation officer and more. You may also have motor vehicle restrictions including limited use of your car, and even the installation of an ignition lock mechanism, which prevents the car from being operated if alcohol is detected on your breath.
Also, probation for a first DUI does not mean the return of your driver's license. This separate matter is determined by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and you should immediately get in touch with your state DMV following suspension of your license to schedule a hearing. Make sure you fully understand the logistics and expectations of your DUI charge and get a full account in writing of what is expected of you. A good DUI lawyer can help you in this area.
The diversion agreement is an option for someone with only one DUI conviction. The agreement is usually available only if the offender agrees to plead guilty or no contest to the drunk driving charge. They are then entered into the diversion program where an offender must complete a set of courses, counseling, rehab, or other required action. If these are done successfully, the court can dismiss the DUI charge.
Remember, you must successfully finish a DUI class and fully comply with all court orders to complete the program. Anything short of this can land you right back in court with all charges and penalties. The diversion agreement is not easy to complete, for those who are eligible it is a second chance that should be taken.
Many DUI classes are the same in that they offer alcohol and drug educational information, addiction education, and many times shocking looks at pictures of drunk driving accidents. All these things are designed to show you that your situation could have ended up far worse, give you an incentive to complete the program successfully, and make a determination to steer clear of such mistakes in your future.
If your DUI school or other state program requires group sessions, you may be expected to share your story with others, listen, and offer support to the group in a counseling-type environment.
First time DUI offenders not used to learning, ordering, or paying online will get a fast indoctrination into the finer points of online commerce. If you have been referred to an online DUI school, there are many things you will need in order to complete your sign-up process.
In most cases you will need to provide your complete information including home address, phone number, and credit card information. If you are uncomfortable sending credit card information online, you may be able to call the DUI school's office number to pay by phone or inquire about secure online ordering.
It's important to remember that you will be required to provide all the details of your first DUI case when ordering. This includes the name of your judge, the court name and address, plus your citation number and court due date. Have all this information with you when you sign up to speed the process along, and soon you will be starting your online DUI class and making progress.
Many state-required DUI schools involve alcohol awareness programs. Did you know some states allow first time DUI offenders to take these programs online? Be warned, for some states there are restrictions. You may not be able to pick and choose the DUI school. Court guidance in many states demands a certain set of requirements be met from your DUI schooling. California DUI schools require referral from the court or DMV in many cases. Your DUI lawyer can help you determine which class best fits the court's demands.
Some states require you attend DUI school on location, but what can you do if your license has already been suspended or revoked? In state that do not have adequate forms of public transportation, you may be eligible for a hardship driver's license or restricted license. This license may permit you to drive to and from DUI class only, or possibly back and forth to work as well. Any other use is usually forbidden; you can't use this restricted license for any other purpose.
Have your lawyer look into whether you are eligible for such a license. A restricted license may already be a part of your first DUI probation terms, but if not, get in touch with the DMV right away to learn what you can do.
If your state permits first time DUI offenders to enroll in an online DUI school, you may be able to save yourself a lot of time and hassle by taking the course in the comfort of your own home, library, or other Internet-ready location. One of the big advantages of this comes for people who are still unable to drive because of DMV restrictions, court orders, or insurance issues. Many first DUI school attendees must rely on public transportation in order to meet the court or DMV requirements. Thanks to the online version of DUI class, you can save yourself the time and expense! When searching for an online DUI class, try to find one that offers to send your certificate of completion directly to the referring court or DMV office for maximum convenience and speedy processing.
For a first time DUI offender, the court may not require you to attend, but many state Department of Motor Vehicle hearings will end with an order to attend such a school as a condition of getting your license reinstated.
In many cases, the DMV will refer you to a particular DUI school or give you a list of requirements that must be fulfilled by the school. The good news is that your DUI lawyer will have plenty of experience directing clients to a DUI school that meets the demands of the DMV or the court if you don't get a specific referral. Ask your lawyer to advise you and attend all classes faithfully.
Your drunk driving charge must be a first DUI; otherwise you are not eligible in most cases. There are a few exceptions to this rule depending on state law. If you have attended a DUI class or completed a diversion agreement before, you may be eligible again if your last offense was more than 10 years ago. If this is the case, your current offense may be considered a first DUI for diversion program purposes. Since many states now require a guilty or no contest plea before you can enter a diversion program, it is best to consult with a DUI lawyer for advice on how to proceed before making any decisions. Remember that many states have a time limit on when you can file for a diversion program. Time is of the essence.
A diversion agreement means you must plead guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, then attend DUI school, rehab, counseling, or any other court-directed program. First DUI offenders are eligible for this in most cases, but there are notable exceptions you should be aware of.
Many states consider those who carry commercial driver's licenses such as truck drivers, chauffeurs, and delivery people to be ineligible for a diversion agreement. Also, most state laws say any crime such as murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide connected to a motor vehicle will automatically render the offender ineligible for the diversion program.
As always, it is best to consult a lawyer savvy in DUI law to learn what your best option may be, with or without a diversion program, DUI school, etc.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|