Yes. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, you should sign up for a DUI school course immediately. It is not an admission of guilt. You should be in the class while your lawyer fights the case. The court and the prosecutor will eventually expect it anyway. If you’ve taken the initiative to get it going early on in the case, it can only help you.
Even if you get the charge reduced, the State of Florida will require DUI school to educate DUI offenders about the effects alcohol has on driving, to understand their substance abuse problems and to find ways to avoid making the same mistakes again. And, if you know you made a mistake, the court will require DUI school as part of your sentence. So, why not do the class early on and gain some leniency?
What Is DUI School?
DUI School is the name given to the FLHSMV-approved DUI courses. They are mandatory for all DUI offenders in Florida and require you to meet a minimum number of learning hours.
DUI courses are taught by state-certified instructors, following a standard DUI curriculum. If you have been convicted of a DUI, you can expect to attend a course with over DUI offenders where you’ll have:
- Class Participation
- Tools to empowerment to overcome alcohol-related issues.
DUI school is effectively an education on the dangers and impacts of drinking and driving. It aims to help DUI offenders avoid making the same mistake again, by recognizing the grave dangers of driving while under the influence.
What Happens If I Don’t Go to DUI School in Florida?
If you sign up for DUI school and then fail to complete the necessary DUI program hours within 90 days of enrollment, the court, probation and DHSMV will be notified. You will also lose all the fees you’ve paid.
What Type of DUI School Will I Have to Do in Florida?
There are two types of DUI schools in Florida; Level I and Level II.
Level I DUI Course
First-time offenders must do Level I DUI courses, which include:
- At least 12 hours of classroom instruction.
- Substance abuse evaluation
- Psychosocial evaluation
Level II DUI Course
Anyone who has been charged for a DUI in Florida AND has any previous convictions will need to do the Level II DUI course. The conviction can be from any state or jurisdiction. The DUI school will require you to get a certified copy of your driving record from places where you’ve previously lived, so make sure that you tell the truth about your record.
- At least 21 hours of classroom instruction.
- Interactive educational techniques in group settings.
- Up to 15 participants per class.
- Focuses on helping repeat offenders.
Level II DUI participants are always referred to treatment, so don’t be surprised when this happens.
How Much Does DUI School in Florida Cost?
If charged for a DUI in Florida you will need to pay the DUI school fees yourself. Here are the costs as of November 2022:
- Level I DUI Course: $295
- Level II DUI Course: $445
There may also be additional fees for related expenses. You will also have to pay fees if you need to reassign the DUI course date, or if you arrive at the DUI school under the influence.
- Reassignment fees: Between $75 and $425.
- Arriving at DUI school while under the influence fee: $275
Where Can I Take DUI School in Florida?
You must complete DUI school with a Florida provider approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
- There are no virtual classes, so you must meet at the physical location.
- You must register for DUI school in Florida in the county where you live, work or attend school.
- The list of available locations can be found here.
- Most locations have daytime, evening and weekend classes so you can find something to work into your schedule.
What Do I Need to Register for DUI School in Florida?
- Your traffic citation
- A copy of your Arrest Affidavit
- Your breath, blood or urine test results, or;
- The police report recorded your refusal to perform the breath test.
- Your court order with the judgment
- Your driving history
Can DUI School Help Those With Substance Abuse Problems?
While not a treatment itself, DUI school in Florida can be a great help to those with alcohol addictions.
Most DUI courses will address substance abuse by holding group discussions. Participants get to talk about what happened in a safe environment, with people in similar positions. They will also get an evaluation and potentially get referred to treatment options.
Being involved in such discussions can go a long way to helping those with substance abuse problems to recognize their failings and to find ways to handle them better in the future.
Am I Going to Go To Jail for a DUI in Florida?
Going to jail is always an issue that should be in the back of your mind. The good news is that it is unlikely for a first time DUI. The real risk is when you’ve had a prior.
Technically, first-time offenders for DUI offenses in Florida could face up to 6 months in jail, while repeat offenders could face up to 5 years in prison. It’s critical that you take action fast so that you have a solid defense for your charges, please contact our criminal defense lawyers today.
Read Related: How to Fight a DUI Charge in Florida
DUI Statistics in Florida
- Total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: 814
- % of driving fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers: 26
- Annual arrests for DUIs: 32,127
- Annual Under 18s DUIs: 69
DUI Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, please contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately. Whether you’ve made a mistake, law enforcement wrongfully charged you, you need your charge reduced, or you need your penalties minimized, we’ll fight aggressively on your behalf.
Our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300