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DUI Programs and Classes

DUI Programs and Classes

In 2020, 21% of all fatal car accidents in Illinois were alcohol-related, meaning at least one of the car occupants was driving while intoxicated. We’ve all heard people say, “Don’t drink and drive,” but some individuals still get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using substances. This decision puts themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. 

People caught driving while intoxicated are usually charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). Once the individual goes to court, they may be required to complete a DUI program as part of their sentencing. The offense will also appear on their criminal and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record. 

What Is a DUI Class?

DUI classes educate individuals about the dangers of drinking or using substances and driving. These programs are led by trained professionals who discuss the legal, physical and emotional ramifications of driving under the influence. Professionals teach participants new skills to prevent these behaviors in the future. 

DUI classes or programs are often attended by first-time offenders who must take the class to prevent stricter court sentencing. Individuals must attend these sessions every week until they complete their required course time.

Below is a standard sequence of events that leads to someone needing to take a class:

1. Checkpoints or Accidents

DUI checkpoints are locations picked by law enforcement where they can stop your vehicle and ask for your license and registration. These checkpoints are more common over holidays, such as New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. If law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion that you’ve been driving under the influence, such as an open alcohol container in the vehicle, they will pull you over and most likely have you take a field sobriety test. These tests usually consist of:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test
  • The walk-and-turn test
  • The one-leg stand test

If a police officer in Illinois has reasonable cause to believe you are driving under the influence, they will require you to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). This is because Illinois has implied consent laws stating that anyone who operates a motor vehicle gives their implied consent to undergo chemical testing, such as breath, blood or urine tests.

If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, officers may require you to take a field sobriety test if they suspect you were driving under the influence, especially if an injury or death occurred due to the accident. If the tests determine you’re incapable of operating a motor vehicle due to intoxication, you may be arrested and charged with a DUI.

Checkpoints or Accidents

2. Court

If an arrest occurs, you may be required to go to court to resolve your DUI charges. You may attend drug court, which specializes in non-violent drug and alcohol cases. Drug court handles drug and alcohol proceedings quickly since it isn’t delayed due to violent cases. The attorneys and judges are well-versed in DUIs and other substance-related crimes, so all court proceedings are handled efficiently. However, these courts do not manage DUI cases that caused an accident where someone was seriously injured or killed. 

The court will analyze your case, determine whether you’re guilty or not guilty and assign the appropriate sentencing.

3. Court-Ordered Classes

If you’re a first-time offender, the court may give you the option to attend court-ordered classes as an alternative to other sentences. These classes enable offenders to treat underlying substance use conditions under the supervision of the court and medical professionals. The program you enter will vary based on your situation. Some people may be required to go to inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, therapy, DUI classes or a combination of these programs.

Some people who go through a DUI program due to a court order may see better results than someone who participates in the program without legal pressure or ramifications.

DUI Class Structure

When someone takes a DUI class, they’ll follow a specific process to complete their treatment. Below, we’ll guide you through each step of the DUI class structure so you’ll know what to expect when you start your program.

1. DUI Evaluation

The first step is to undergo an evaluation conducted by a substance use professional. This evaluation will ask you questions about your general information and your substance use and arrest information. 

A professional will also analyze information from your arrest, such as your blood alcohol content and other evidence. Once they gather all the information, they will make treatment recommendations for your DUI program. The collected information cannot be used against you in court. It’s strictly used to determine your individual treatment needs and risk level.

The different risk levels include:

  • Minimal: Someone with a minimum risk level is required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of DUI education. The instruction is usually completed over five to six weeks, with up to two hours of classes each week.
  • Moderate: A moderate risk level requires a minimum of 10 hours of DUI education and 12 hours of early intervention treatment. These treatments must be completed over a minimum of four weeks with no more than three hours per day in any week. 
  • Significant: An individual with a significant risk requires 10 hours of DUI education, 20 hours of substance use treatment and continued participation in an aftercare program.
  • High: A high risk requires someone to complete 75 hours of substance misuse treatment and continued participation in aftercare. During treatment, they’ll also attend DUI education classes to fulfill the requirements mandated by the court.

Once your risk level is determined, a substance use professional will recommend a personalized treatment plan specific to your needs. While going through the DUI classes, you may also participate in outpatient treatment or individual therapy. 

DUI Evaluation

2. Instruction

Now that your evaluation has been completed, you’ll begin your instruction. How your DUI education is structured will vary based on where you take your classes.

At Gateway Foundation, your DUI classes will take place in a small group setting with 10-25 other students. During review of these course materials, we help keep you engaged by playing educational movies, inviting guest speakers and giving brief exams to let you demonstrate your learning. We also facilitate discussions about ways to abstain from drinking and driving and make safe decisions. 

Some of the information covered in DUI instruction includes how using alcohol or other substances and driving affects your safety and other motorists. It will also cover the effect on your health, the potential legal ramifications of DUIs and how to take responsibility for a past DUI charge or conviction. Quality DUI education should be comprehensive to prevent future DUIs.

During instruction, you may also participate in inpatient or outpatient treatment, which treats underlying substance use and mental health conditions that may have contributed to your DUI charge or conviction. The treatment you need will be determined during your evaluation and coincide with your DUI instruction. 

3. 12 Step Support

Some people who go through a DUI program must participate in an aftercare program. A 12 step support program is a scientifically proven method to help you find lifelong support to continue facilitating a successful recovery and prevent relapse. These programs include attending therapy or support groups in the treatment facility and the community. You’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms and build a robust support network to assist you through recovery. 

The professional counselors will help guide you through the process to integrate the skills you learn into your recovery plan. A 12 step program helps reduce anxiety surrounding recovery by allowing you to speak openly about your concerns and providing a forum to ask questions.

12 Step Support

Gateway Foundation offers 12 step facilitation which allows you to speak with a counselor about 12 step support programs. Counselors help determine the appropriate aftercare for individuals and provide education about the different options and benefits of 12 step groups. They’ll also help reduce any anxieties surrounding attending support groups.

The 12 step support programs are just part of the relapse prevention process. At Gateway Foundation, we help you curate a plan to determine how you’ll respond to triggers and cravings once you have adjusted to independent living. This plan can include calling a friend or family member when you’re feeling upset, attending therapy or a support group when you’re feeling alone in your recovery or engaging in healthy activities as an alternative to substance use, such as hiking or yoga. 

A thorough aftercare plan is the best way to prevent relapse and impulsive decision-making that leads to DUIs or other offenses.

4. Completion Certification

Once you’ve completed the DUI program, Gateway Foundation presents you with a completion certificate signifying you’ve completed all the required classes and treatments. You can present this certificate to the court to show you’ve completed the court-ordered classes. You may also undergo a follow-up interview to determine whether the program was successful.

Substance use treatment is effective at facilitating recovery and preventing future relapses, especially when treatment lasts for 90 days or more. Even once your DUI program has ended, it’s essential to continue with an aftercare program to maintain the healthy coping skills and support network achieved through treatment.

What Happens After Finishing Your DUI Program

Once you’ve finished your DUI program and presented the court with your completion certification, you may be required to follow protocols for your state. Some states require you to install a device in your car that prevents operation if alcohol is detected on your breath.

In Illinois, people with a first-time DUI conviction might have their license revoked for a minimum of one year. Your vehicle’s registration will also be suspended, and you may be required to complete community service or pay a fine. If you had a blood alcohol content above 0.16 when you were arrested for a DUI, your penalties might be more severe. Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 16 will also increase your penalties. 

What Happens After Finishing Your DUI Program

People with a second DUI conviction will have more penalties once they’ve completed their DUI education. These include having your license revoked for at least five years and a suspended vehicle registration. You may also have fines to pay and community service to complete. If you continue to receive DUI convictions beyond your second offense, the penalties will increase, and you may be charged with a Class 2 felony aggravated DUI. 

To prevent future DUIs, the court may recommend or require participating in an aftercare program with your treatment facility. Your aftercare program will be personalized to your circumstances. Some people will attend group therapy with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or participate in individual therapy with a professional counselor. 

The Benefits of DUI Education

Undergoing DUI education offers numerous benefits and skills to carry into life once your treatment and classes have ended. DUI programs vary based on where you go, but in general, they will teach you how to:

  • Identify triggers: One challenging thing for people recovering from addiction is identifying and managing triggers. These triggers can cause cravings, which are urges to use a substance. They’re common feelings associated with the psychological withdrawal caused by detoxing from alcohol or drugs. Even once someone has completed their treatment, they may still be exposed to triggers that cause these cravings. DUI education will help you identify the triggers in your life and find healthy coping mechanisms to overcome the cravings that happen as a result. 
  • Drink responsibly: While DUI classes don’t encourage drinking, they understand that people may still drink occasionally. With this in mind, DUI education teaches individuals how to drink responsibly to prevent future DUIs and accidents. For example, they’ll emphasize the importance of having a designated driver or a backup plan if the designated driver can’t take everyone home after a night of drinking. They’ll provide education on binge drinking and the recommended drinking limits for men and women.
  • Improve your circle: Some people charged or convicted of a DUI have a network of friends or family who encourage dangerous behaviors, such as drinking and driving. DUI education teaches you to analyze your current peer group and surround yourself with people who can offer you support. You’ll learn how to identify behaviors in your peers that encourage risky actions and discover how to build a healthy support network of loved ones. DUI education also allows you to connect with other people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Make better decisions in the future: DUI classes emphasize the importance of making good life decisions. Participants will learn how to improve their decision-making skills by being presented with various scenarios and being guided to the right choice. This practice helps offenders prevent future decisions that could put themselves or others in harm’s way. 
  • Understand and avoid more severe future consequences: DUI classes educate participants on the dangers of drinking while under the influence of substances. The purpose of this education is to make sure participants understand the potential consequences. These drawbacks include the physical and mental effects of substance use and how drinking and driving can harm themselves and others. Courses will also educate people on the legal ramifications of future drinking and driving. 

The Benefits of DUI Education

People who undergo DUI education will carry the skills they’ve learned for the rest of their life. They’ll gain the necessary tools to manage their substance use while building decision-making skills and a robust support network to uplift them through recovery. These courses offer participants the chance to learn from their past mistakes and start over.

DUI education can also be supplemented with additional treatment for individuals with a severe addiction. These solutions help people treat underlying conditions that trigger substance use, such as mental health disorders. Many people with mental health conditions use substances to cope with stress and symptoms. Substance use can lower inhibitions and make someone more likely to make risky decisions, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Treating these mental health conditions reduces the individual’s chance of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. During treatment, they’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms and skills to overcome mental illness symptoms that drive people to use various substances, such as alcohol. Group or individual therapy will also help individuals learn decision-making skills and create a supportive network of peers and professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs and DUI Programs

Many people have various questions about DUIs and DUI programs concerning their costs and offered classes. If you’re a first-time offender and this is your first time going through a DUI program, there may be some unclear information. Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding DUI programs, so you can better understand how the process works. 

How Can I Attend DUI Classes Instead of Going to Jail?

In some cases, the court will recommend DUI classes instead of jail time, particularly if you’re a first-time offender and no one was harmed due to your driving while intoxicated. You can also qualify for classes if:

  • You are under 25 years old
  • You have never been treated for substance use
  • Alcohol is the primary substance you use
  • You can receive treatment at an outpatient facility

If you don’t meet these qualifications, you can still attend DUI classes as an alternative to jail time. The instruction will act as your probation. You must complete the court-ordered DUI program as the court requires to ensure you don’t incur any additional penalties. 

In some cases, the court will recommend DUI classes instead of jail time, particularly if you're a first-time offender and no one was harmed due to your driving while intoxicated.

Can I Attend a DUI Program in Another State?

In most states, you must complete a DUI program in the state that you received the DUI. If you were charged and convicted with a DUI in Illinois, you must complete your court-ordered program in the same state. 

Additionally, if you are an Illinois resident charged with a DUI in another state, your Illinois license can still be affected. You may have to complete your DUI courses out of state, but Illinois can still revoke your license for a minimum of one year for a first-time offense. Once the other state reports the DUI to Illinois, Illinois will impose the restrictions based on the circumstance.

Note that each state has its own laws regarding license penalties for DUIs. Some states have harsher penalties, while others are more relaxed. Regardless of the restrictions on your license out of state, Illinois may still suspend your license for a minimum of one year. The suspension might be even longer if this isn’t the first time you’ve been convicted with a DUI. 

What’s the Cost?

DUI classes can be expensive, but the costs vary by state. On average, DUI classes for a first-time offender cost an average of $24,000, which includes legal fees, treatment costs and insurance increases. The breakdown of the costs includes:

  • $1,500 for fines
  • Over $300 for jail costs
  • Between $3,000 to $6,000 for court costs
  • Roughly $250 for reinstating your license
  • $200 for a public attorney

These expenses are just estimations. For example, jail costs will vary based on how many days you spend at the facility. Other costs should also be considered, such as expenses for substance use treatment and wages lost while spending time in treatment. 

Does Insurance Cover DUI Programs?

Does Insurance Cover DUI Programs?

Out-of-pocket costs for a DUI program can be expensive, especially if you must undergo additional addiction treatment. The good news is that many insurance providers cover some, if not all, of the costs associated with substance use treatment. However, not all addiction treatment centers take insurance, so it’s essential to conduct thorough research to determine which treatment facilities will accept your insurance. 

Gateway Foundation offers in-network and out-of-network insurance options for individuals looking to free themselves from addiction and get their lives back on track. 

Where Can I Take Classes?

The court will require different programs and treatments based on your risk level. For example, people with minimal risk will only need 10 hours of DUI risk education, while individuals with a high risk will need 75 hours of substance misuse treatment. The different levels of care you require will determine where you can take your classes.

You can take DUI classes in many places, but you’ll want to know you’re getting the best treatment and program options. Gateway Foundation offers state-approved DUI classes in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We have 16 drug treatment centers so that you can find a facility close to home. We have over 50 years of experience and use evidence-based therapies, so you know you’re getting quality treatment when you work with our team of professionals.

How Do I Let the Court Know I’m Done With My Class?

Once you’ve completed treatment, you’ll be presented with a completion certificate indicating you’ve finished all the necessary course work and treatment. You’ll show your proof of enrollment and certification to the court or DMV to prove you have completed the required programs.

How Do I Let the Court Know I'm Done With My Class?

What Happens If I Don’t Complete the Program?

If you have a court order to complete a DUI program or substance misuse treatment, you must complete the required programs. If you fail to complete them, this will be viewed as a probation violation, and you may face harsher punishments. The court will determine the new conditions, and you may end up facing jail time as a result. 

It’s always in your best interest to complete the program. If you cannot pay for your classes at the time, you can still attend. Your certification may be withheld until you’ve made all your payments, but you should continue to attend and complete your required programs until you receive your certificate. 

How Much Time Does It Take to Finish a Class?

The time it takes to complete a class will vary based on what level you’re determined to be at after your evaluation. Some people will only require 10 hours of DUI risk education. These 10 hours can’t be completed in the same week. Some people will be required to attend the class for two hours a week until they meet their 10-hour requirement, which would take approximately five weeks.

How Much Time Does It Take to Finish a Class?

Other people will be in an extended program, such as those with a high risk. They’re required to complete 75 hours of substance use treatment and aftercare, which can last much longer. Aftercare is considered to be a lifelong part of the recovery process. These individuals will complete their classes in the 75 hours of treatment, but they’ll continue to attend therapy and meetings as part of their aftercare plan.

Do You Have Online Options?

Illinois doesn’t typically offer online options for people charged with a DUI who are required by the court to attend classes. These classes would need to be attended in person.

However, it’s possible to qualify for an exemption. You can receive special permission from the court, particularly if you have outside requirements that would require online classes. These circumstances include work or educational requirements that keep you from attending classes in person. 

COVID-19 has opened up online options, so people don’t have to go into a treatment facility during a pandemic. Some facilities offer telehealth options, so if you’re looking for online treatment because of pandemic concerns, conduct thorough research to determine what facility can provide you with online courses.

Do You Have Online Options?

When Will My License Be Reinstated?

The length of time it takes to get your license reinstated will vary based on your circumstance. First-time offenders will have their license revoked for a minimum of one year, though the actual length of time will depend upon your case’s circumstances. Repeat offenses mean your license will be revoked for a longer period. 

In Illinois, a second DUI conviction results in a license suspension for a minimum of five years, and a third DUI conviction is a suspension for a minimum of 10 years. If you get a fourth DUI conviction, your license will be permanently revoked.

Additionally, some individuals may have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle once they’re allowed to drive again. These devices will prevent your vehicle from starting if your blood alcohol content is above the set limit. You will blow into the device just like with a breathalyzer before you can start your vehicle and at intervals while you drive. 

This device must remain in your car for the length of time predetermined by the judge. Having someone else blow into the device for you is a criminal offense and can result in harsher penalties. 

When Will My License Be Reinstated?

Can I Get This Expunged?

Having your DUI expunged means the charge would be completely wiped off your record as if it had never happened. Each state has its own policies on eligibility for DUI expungement. In Illinois, you can have a DUI expunged from your record if:

  • You were arrested but never charged with a DUI
  • You were found not guilty in a court of law
  • Your case was dismissed

If you meet any of these requirements, your attorney can file the appropriate paperwork to have the DUI expunged from your record once the waiting period has passed.

However, you’re not eligible for expungement if you were convicted of a DUI. You can try to apply for a pardon, which the state governor can grant. A pardon can relieve an individual of some or all of the legal ramifications of a crime. Your DUI would be overturned and removed from your record. Pardons are very rare and don’t usually take place for DUI convictions, but it’s important to go over all your options with your attorney. 

Can I Get My Record Sealed?

People who don’t meet the requirements for expungement may be able to get their criminal record sealed. Like the expungement process, if you were convicted of a DUI, you cannot get your record sealed in the state of Illinois.

Can I Get My Record Sealed?

However, Illinois House Bill 3934 is moving through the state’s legislature and, if passed, may open the door for individuals looking to seal their record. With this bill, you could seal your record if:

  • At least 10 years have passed since the end of your sentence
  • You did not cause a fatal accident or injury due to driving under the influence
  • No other misdemeanor or felony exists on your driving record
  • The judge finds that no plea deal was made for a lesser charge, and no other DUIs have been committed in the state

This bill would allow many first-time, non-violent offenders to seal their criminal record from the public, which would alleviate some of the hardships individuals feel when they try to apply for jobs or secure promotions with a DUI on their record. Note that while your criminal record would be sealed, this bill does not remove the DUI from your driving record. 

While this bill has yet to be passed, you should keep an eye on its progress through the Illinois legislation so you’ll know if and when you can expunge or seal a DUI from your record.

How to Find a DUI Program

Every area should have a local DUI program so you can find a class close to home. Professionals with experience in teaching or healthcare often conduct these classes. If you’re looking for a DUI program near you, take a few steps to find the best one:

  1. Take your DUI evaluation: The first step in the process is taking your DUI evaluation. A professional can help determine what you’ll need, whether that’s just 10 hours of DUI education or substance misuse treatment. Your evaluation results can help you decide which type of program to look for.
  2. Contact the judicial system: If you’ve been ordered by the court to take DUI classes, you can contact your attorney or the court, and they’ll provide you with information about your nearest DUI program. 
  3. Search online: You can also find DUI programs in your area by searching online. Many online resources can guide you toward a suitable DUI program, whether you’re looking to complete your classes online or in person. 
  4. Contact an addiction treatment facility: Many addiction recovery centers also offer DUI classes that you can take independently or with simultaneous addiction treatment. Taking classes at an addiction treatment facility is often an ideal choice since some offenders must undergo substance misuse treatment as part of their sentencing. These facilities offer inpatient and outpatient treatment to suit your needs. After you take your DUI evaluation, you’ll receive recommendations on which treatment program is best suited to your circumstance.
  5. Choose a program approved by the state: Some DUI programs aren’t approved by the state, so they won’t count toward the completion of your court-ordered classes. Be sure to speak with your attorney or the court to determine whether the state approves the program you’re choosing.

How to Find a DUI Program

Gateway Foundation has a DUI program to help educate offenders on the dangers of driving under the influence. We can help you complete your court-ordered classes while working on getting your license and life back. We also offer plenty of treatment programs to help address underlying conditions that may have led to a DUI, such as addiction and mental health disorders. 

Our DUI program is state-approved, so you can rest assured you can complete your court-ordered classes with us. We are committed to educating our clients about driving under the influence and preventing future DUIs that can result in harsher penalties. With our 16 treatment facilities located across Illinois, you can find a high-quality DUI program in your area to start on the path to DUI education and recovery. 

We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to suit your specific needs and provide you with the flexibility to manage all of life’s responsibilities. Our various levels of care are available to treat substance use disorders and mental health conditions regardless of what recovery stage you’re in. We’ll help you build new skills and provide you with the means to maintain a robust support system so that you can get your life back on track.

Choose the DUI Program at Gateway Foundation

Have you been arrested for drunk or impaired driving? Then, Gateway can help you get your license, life, and sobriety back. Namely, we’ll perform a DUI evaluation to determine the best course of treatment. Conveniently, our accredited Illinois rehab system has 16 drug treatment centers that have helped more than 1 million clients. Also, we partner with 42 correctional facilities in six states to rebuild lives behind bars. Our 50 years of experience using evidence-based therapies will improve your chances of lifelong recovery. Beyond DUI classes, our skilled clinicians provide the full continuum of care options, such as:

Choose Gateway Foundation’s DUI and Addiction Treatment Programs

Substance use and addiction can cause a person to make risky decisions, such as operating a vehicle while impaired. By doing so, they put everyone on the road, including themselves, at risk for injury or a fatal accident. Treating substance misuse and attending a high-quality DUI program is the best way to prevent future DUIs from happening. These programs also improve an individual’s quality of life.

Gateway Foundation is committed to providing our clients with the best DUI education available. Our continuum of care helps treat underlying conditions to give each person a fresh start on life with a renewed perspective. If you’re looking for a DUI program in Illinois or searching for addiction treatment, contact Gateway Foundation for more information regarding our programs and services. 

Choose Gateway Foundation's DUI and Addiction Treatment Programs