DUI classes in Atlanta serve as an alcohol education tool that is often required as part of a DUI, reckless driving sentence or plea deal. In some cases, it may also be used as a bargaining tool if taken before trial. To discuss whether taking a DUI class can benefit you or what you should expect from an alcohol program, call a DUI attorney today.
Georgia uses what is called a Risk Reduction Course for its DUI classes. This class is provided by private individuals, but the Georgia Department of Drivers Services promulgates the regulations and anyone who has been convicted of DUI will find themselves in a Risk Reduction Course at some point.
The very few who do not end up in a Risk Reduction Course are those who go to trial and are found not guilty of DUI or have an lawyer in the area who obtains them a plea deal that is not conditioned on the attendance of a Risk Reduction Course. Wih that said, most pleas, whether they are pleas to DUI or a more favorable charge like reckless driving, will involve attending a Risk Reduction Program, that is, an alcohol education program, as a condition
Risk Reduction Course attendance is mandatory if you are convicted of DUI. Many prosecutors who might reach an agreement with a local attorney to reduce the charge of DUI to something else, most often reckless driving, will still require your attendance as a condition of the sentence to reckless driving. In Georgia, if you are convicted of DUI, the Georgia Legislature, under law, requires you to attend the Risk Reduction Course.
Risk Reduction School is broken down into two parts. When someone first attends DUI classes, they take a 130 question screening test. The test questions address your alcohol and drug use and how that can affect your control of a vehicle on the road. This is the short component of the Risk Reduction course.
The second component of the Risk Reduction course is an extensive set of lectures, discussion, and counseling sessions in a group environment, totaling 20 total hours over the course of a few days. Tuition for this component is just under $300.00. This component is supposed to be about therapeutic education and group counseling on alcohol, drugs, and their effect on driving here in Georgia.
In Georgia, traffic school is a colloquial term for a defensive driving class which is not the same as a Risk Reduction course. While they are both mandated or controlled through their program materials by the Georgia Department of Drivers Services, each course is separate and distinct; each is designed to cover different topics and different issues.
It is rare to see a defensive driving condition in a DUI sentence because the risk reduction program is usually seen as a more comprehensive course than the defensive driving course.
A victim impact panel is the class that some courts in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court require defendants convicted of DUI and reckless driving to attend. In a lecture setting, people who have had their lives changed by DUI, generally in a not pleasant way, come to speak to those who have been convicted of these offenses about the consequences, about their own stories, and about how their lives have been changed forever by a drunk driver or a reckless driver.
In Georgia, the most common organizers of victim impact panels are Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD. Most classes around metropolitan Atlanta are also run by MADD.
The victim impact panel in Georgia is a two-hour class, and generally, the classes are offered at different times in different locations. You should book in advance, know the schedule, and have already paid and reserved your spot significantly ahead of time before planning to attend. Do not just show up to a MADD victim impact panel without paying and without securing your spot.
Do not drink before going to the panel because they will breathalyze you. If you are breathalyzed and you test positive for alcohol while attending one of these panels, they may report back to the court that you showed up under the influence of alcohol while attending the class.
Voluntary attendance of DUI classes in Atlanta such as Risk Reduction Courses can sometimes be used as a bargaining tool in a close case where reckless driving might be a possibility with a particular prosecutor. So it might be advisable in some cases to proactively attend a Risk Reduction Course prior to the imposition of a sentence or trial to show the prosecutor that the client has made a good faith effort to try to resolve things and move on with their life.
Anyone who wants 20 hours of alcohol education can walk into a DUI school and attend the Risk Reduction course. These DUI Schools and classes are all around Atlanta and the statutory cost is $292.00. If you have further questions, contact our experienced law firm for assistance.