Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for my first Texas DWI. If I am convicted will I have to take part in an Alcohol Education Program? If yes, how much time will it take and how much will it cost?”
Texas DWI Alcohol Education Program overview
Drivers in the State of Texas who are convicted of their first Texas DWI may be required to participate in an Alcohol Education Program as a condition of reinstating their driver’s license or as a penalty for DUI.
In some cases, they may also be given probation. If probation is given they will be required to complete a 12-hour class in an authorized Alcohol Education Program unless the requirement is waived by the presiding judge. After the driver completes the Alcohol Education Program they must submit evidence of completion of the course to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 180 days from date of conviction or the driver license will be revoked.
Given this, the requirement to participate in an Alcohol Education Program is considered “discretionary” and may or may not be required under Texas DWI laws.
Why are drivers required to take Alcohol Education Programs?
Drunk driving kills thousands of drivers each year. Lawmakers, lobbyists and concerned citizens have struggled with new and aggressive tactics to reduce drunken driving. Not only have laws and penalties become harsher over the last 20 years, legislation has also been passed to require drivers in many states to attend Alcohol Education Programs.
The goal of these programs is not only to educate drivers about the dangers of intoxicated driving, but also to assess the driver’s addiction and offer treatment strategies to help the driver avoid intoxicated driving in the future.
State laws regarding these classes varies. For example, in some states the classes may be required by state law. In other states, however, they may be a condition of probation, or they may be ordered by the judge.
What do I need to know about Alcohol Education Programs?
If you are required to take an Alcohol Education Program it’s important to note the programs vary not only by state but also within the state. For example, classes can vary in length and in subject matter. For example, a minor in possession may take a Level I alcohol education course which lasts only two days and covers basic information about the effects of alcohol.
Drivers convicted of multiple DWIs, however, may have to take classes which last 16, 20, 24 or 32 hours, cover many more topics, and cost substantially more. Additionally, some drivers may also be required to participate in drug rehabilitation and therapy programs which can be very extensive, depending on the severity of the violation.
If you have been convicted of a Texas DWI it’s likely you will have to attend an Alcohol Education Program. For more information about Texas laws regarding this subject review Article 42.12, Section l3(h), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 42.12, Section 13(j), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
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