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DUI classes are a key component in the sanctioning for those who have received a DUI or DWI offense. The programs are designed to be an educational component to teach drivers the importance of staying alcohol and drug free when getting behind the wheel. According to MADD, over 1.2 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for DUI. Males were more likely than females to drive under the influence and the highest percentage of DUI offenses was for the 21 – 24 age range. The good news is that with increased awareness, the number of alcohol related fatalities has been reduced from 26,173 in 1982 to close to 10,000 in 2011. California is the most flagrant offender, topping the list of states with the highest number of fatalities due to alcohol in 2011.

In California, we spend a lot of time behind the wheel. There are between 27.5 million and 32 million registered motor vehicles and the average Californian drives approximately 13,600 miles per year! That is about 1.5 times what the national average is. It’s the nature of the geography and public transportation woes. California is the 3rd largest state in the nation after Alaska and Texas and just doesn’t have the rail system in place to accommodate commuters like other places like Chicago and NYC do. The Metro system we do have in place is limited and it generally requires at least one line transfer to get from one place to another. While in New York, one swipe of the subway card gets you onto all the lines, in California riders must pay each time they transfer stations. As a result of this expense and inconvenience, Californians tend to make the decision to drive their own cars instead.

Another issue is that it’s not always easy to get a taxi. You can’t hail one down on the street corner, so you have to be prepared with a phone number to call to order one. We’ve had friends wait at a bar late at night almost an hour until one finally showed up. The hassle factor once again sends people stumbling over to their parked cars, even if they’ve had too much to drink.

However, getting a DUI in California is absolutely no fun. The state takes the offense very seriously. If you are a first time offender, you can expect a huge out of pocket expense and many hours spent dealing with the conviction. Specifically, you will lose your drivers license for at least a month, serve some jail time, pay fines, fulfill community service and be required to pay for and take a 3 month, 30 hour in-person alcohol education program. If you have a California driver’s license and received the DUI in California, the state mandates in-person classes rather than taking them online.

If you are in California for business or pleasure and possess and out of state license and are pulled over for a DUI offense, what do you do? You obviously can’t come back to the state to take a class on a weekly basis. In this case you should check with your attorney. California courts are sometimes willing to accept online AB541 classes to fulfill requirements, while residing in your home state. In this case, you first get prior approval to take the program online, then register and take the 32 hour educationally based program from any Internet connected computer device at your own pace.