Loudoun DUI Alcohol Education Courses
For those going through the process of a DUI charge, an alcohol education course can serve a variety of purposes ranging from a punishment to a preemptive way to show the court you are taking your charge seriously. With this in mind, the following is information on alcohol education courses and what those accused of DUI should know.
Alcohol Education Courses As Punishment
If you are convicted of a DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you will be required to complete an alcohol education course in accordance with the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (“VASAP”). The VASAP program cannot be waived if you are found guilty of a DUI, as it is a statutory requirement. Local VASAP locations are responsible for administration of the VASAP protocol. In Loudoun County, it is the Bull Run VASAP Office, which is located on Loudoun Street SE, in Leesburg. Other counties may have their own VASAP office.
VASAP does an initial evaluation for individuals that are referred to their class or referred to their program. They determine whether or not education, treatment or intensive treatment is required to fully rehabilitate the person charged with alcohol related offense. If the DUI charge is a first offense, they likely will give an education program. However, if someone is charged with a second offense or even a DUI first offense with elevated blood alcohol content, they may be required to do more intensive alcohol education rather than simply basic education classes.
Mitigation Benefits of Alcohol Education Programs
If you are charged with a DUI and you want to mitigate your circumstances, you may consider taking an alcohol education program prior to the resolution of your case. This will show that you are serious about changing your lifestyle, serious about educating yourself and about fighting the problems with alcohol. It will also demonstrate that you plan to refrain from alcohol abuse and that you show true remorse for your offense.
There is no exact formula as to what the completion of an alcohol education course prior to the court will do for your case since every case is different in nature, along with factors such as the nature of the prosecutor and the nature the arresting officer. However it is always a good idea to get any benefit from an alcohol education course before your trial date.
DUI Education Courses in Loudoun County
There are a variety of different alcohol education classes available. The most common alcohol education course is the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (“VASAP”). VASAP courses are not done before court. They are done after court, through a court referral. Other types of alcohol education courses may be completed ahead of the court date. Typically these are done through private providers such as the local counseling groups. There are also some public entities that have such programs, for example, Loudoun County Mental Health. While Loudoun County Mental Health does not seem to indicate alcohol or substance abuse work in its name, it actually does quite a bit of alcohol related work.
If you are trying to complete an alcohol education course ahead of the court date, you should expect that it will require a sacrifice of your time, sacrifice of your concentration, and to be fully invested prior to signing up. If you are not going to be fully invested, then doing so will not be fully worth it.