As a DUI defense attorney in Florida, I am constantly asked if doing DUI school is an admission of guilt. The short answer is no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing DUI school immediately after the DUI arrest. There is no legal way for DUI school to be used against you in the case. It has been my experience that doing DUI school can only help you. There are several advantages to doing DUI school as soon as possible. This article will address the advantages and strategy for defending and winning a DUI case. Most importantly, it will provide tips for how you can improve your chances to get out of the DUI charge.
What Is DUI School in Florida?
DUI school is a privately run program that is certified and sanctioned by the State of Florida. There are different programs throughout the state depending on the county. In Pinellas County, the approved DUI school is the Suncoast Safety Council. You can only attend the Suncoast Safety Council DUI School if you live, work, or attend school in Pinellas County. For first time DUI offenders, it is a 12 hour class designed to expose people to issues regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. There is also a one hour substance abuse evaluation that must be completed by a certified DUI evaluator. The DUI evaluator will determine whether the circumstances of your charge warrant counseling. If counseling is recommended, then they will provide you with a list of approved therapists and you must complete the number of recommended sessions.
Why Should You Do DUI School as Soon as Possible?
If you have been arrested for DUI and you blew over .08 or you refused a breath/urine test, your license has been suspended. The good news is that if you had a valid driver’s license at the time, you can legally drive on the DUI citation until midnight on the 10th day following the arrest.
If you do nothing during that 10 day window, your driver’s license suspension will go into effect and you will not be able to drive. For those who want to get a hardship license so that they can continue to drive, you must hurry. You must sign up for DUI school and go to the DMV within this 10 day window to apply for the hardship license. Thus, doing DUI school is something that almost all people who have been arrested for DUI are going to have to do simply to be able to keep on driving.
How Does DUI School Help a DUI Case?
In addition to you being able to keep driving, DUI school is something that every prosecutor and every judge expects you to complete at some point. It is a standard condition in every sentence that is given by the court. The reason why it is so accepted is that the school has both educational and treatment components. Before any judge or prosecutor will consider “letting you off the hook” they want to be assured that you are not a danger on the roads. They do not want to cut you a break to find out later that you committed another DUI or even hurt someone. The DUI school is the best way to prove that you are taking the situation seriously and that you deserve leniency.
What Happens if You Don’t Do DUI School While the Case Is Pending?
If you sit back and do nothing, you don’t give your attorney much to work with. If you think you are going to avoid doing DUI school, you are wrong. My philosophy is that I want my clients to be different from all of the other thousands of people who appear before those same prosecutors and judges every year. I know that people who have a public defender or no lawyer at all walk into court totally unprepared. These people get no leniency and walk out not knowing what could have been done for them if they only had been told what to do. In short, they get caught in the system and taken advantage of and never even know it.
I tell every one of my clients to complete DUI school and the counseling as soon as possible. I then use this to gain an advantage. I use it to distinguish my clients. I use it to show that my clients can be trusted to not engage in bad decision making in the future. As a result, my clients are prepared, they are ahead of the game, and they get deals that very few other people get. My clients put in the work to gain an advantage and they leave the rest to me.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney
In order to get a good deal, the prosecutor expects you to do something in return. If you have been arrested for a DUI, be proactive and do DUI school as soon as possible. I promise that I have never seen anyone regret doing this. I also suggest that you complete as many of the DUI conditions while the case is pending. Hopefully, you will be able to get the DUI charge amended to reckless driving or even a civil infraction. The more ammunition that you can give to your criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances at getting out of the DUI charge. Should you have any questions about a DUI in Pinellas County, I invite you to contact me immediately for a free consultation. I have handled thousands of DUI cases in my career and my goal is to work with you to come up with a strategy to keep you out of jail and to protect your record.