The penalties associated with a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Charleston usually extend far beyond fines and potential jail time. A convicted person may also have to contend with a lengthy suspension of their driver’s license, additional fees for eventual reinstatement of their license, more expensive car insurance, and mandatory substance abuse counseling.

In contrast to the others that may be levied against you after a DUI conviction, though, DUI classes in Charleston are often helpful for those required by law to attend them. Furthermore, voluntary attendance of these kinds of sessions could potentially be used by a hardworking Charleston DUI attorney to argue for lesser penalties in other realms.

What Is a Substance Abuse-related Education Course?

There are a number of private-sector substance abuse-related education classes that are offered through various counselors in the Charleston community. However, the one that is government-run and required after a DUI or DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) conviction or an implied consent violation is called ADSAP, which stands for Alcohol Drug Safety Action Program.

ADSAP is a government-run substance abuse class designed to educate the participant about substance abuse education via group and individual counseling sessions. The required number of sessions varies depending on an individual’s personal history, drinking habits, and other characteristics that are all determined and assessed by an ADSAP counselor or intake coordinator.  If the participant successfully completes all of the required sessions, then they will be deemed to have fulfilled their requirements after a conviction for DUI or implied consent violation.

Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Education Courses

A person cannot go to ADSAP without having a conviction for DUI, DUAC, or an implied consent violation, as ADSAP is the government-run substance abuse education program. Any other substance abuse-related education program that is offered in the Charleston area can be done on a voluntary basis without a court order and would use similar educational materials.

There are no online options for the Charleston DUI course, and traffic school is not the same as a DUI educational program. However, taking an alcohol education course after being charged with a DUI can be a very persuasive mitigating factor. These classes may help a person’s attorney when trying to negotiate the case down to a lesser offense of some sort. That being said, a person should not attend an alcohol education course unless they intend to complete it.

Victim Impact Panels

Typically, “victim impact panel” refers to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving program currently offered in three locations in the Charleston area:  Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, and Summerville. It usually consists of a two-and-a-half to three-hour program in which people affiliated with the MADD organization educate the people in attendance on some of the dangers of excessive drinking and driving or substance abuse-related accidents, usually ones that involved death.

Sometimes, a prosecutor will require a victim impact panel in order to offer a plea bargain in a case, but they are usually not mandated by the court, although theoretically, they could be. Usually, they just play a role in mitigation. A lawyer who knows what they are doing might try to have their client attend one of these panels or go through certain substance abuse education classes in an effort to show acceptance of responsibility, in the hopes that the prosecutor does not force a trial but instead pursues conviction on a lesser offense than DUI.

Learn More About Charleston DUI Classes

Substance abuse education programs typically last for a period of about eight weeks. Many of these programs are offered on weekends and nights so that they do not conflict with a typical weekly work schedule.

Depending on the circumstances, your attendance at DUI classes in Charleston could be a required element of criminal punishment, a good way to protect your future well-being and pursue a lesser sentence, or both at the same time. Either way, talking to a knowledgeable DUI attorney about your options in this regard is usually a good idea.