Virginia DUI Classes
Anyone who is convicted of a DUI offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia is required by statute to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, also known as VASAP or ASAP, of which the duration, frequency, and cost will all depend on the specific nature of an individual’s DUI offense. To learn more about the VASAP program and whether you may required to complete the program, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia DUI lawyer today.
Entering a Virginia DUI School with a Court Order
A person may be able to do other things, such as an initial VASAP evaluation, without a court order depending on the local VASAP office. A person may also complete an independent substance abuse evaluation, which may include DUI alcohol treatment, without a court order. However completion of the Alcohol Safety Action Program can only be done pursuant to a court order. A person cannot choose to complete the class prior to going to court. If convicted, an individual has to complete the class as a condition of their suspended sentence or during the period of that individual’s probation.
Education Materials Used for DUI Courses
Virginia DUI courses use a wide variety of information materials to stress the importance of safe driving. Depending on the nature of the offense, a person may take different educational tracks through VASAP. Typically, two types of tracks are education tracks and treatment tracks.
Education track is typically reserved for first-time offenders who do not have an elevated BAC. This class will be used to try to enhance education to prevent another offense. A treatment track will be used for people with repeat offenses or more serious offenses to address the underlying cause of the DUI, including the inability to stop abusing alcohol.
Managment of Virginia DUI Education Programs
A quasi-governmental committee, known as the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), runs the VASAP program. VASAP is governed by the Commission on VASAP, which is an organization created by the General Assembly. VASAP is somewhat based on a county-by-county basis; however, especially in the more rural areas, one VASAP organization oftentimes will cover multiple jurisdictions.
For example, Fairfax County has Fairfax ASAP, which covers ASAP in Fairfax County and Fairfax City, but Loudoun County does not have its own ASAP; it has Bull Run ASAP, which covers both Loudoun County and Prince William County. There are offices in each of the locations. Other more rural areas have ASAPs that may cover three, four, or five counties. For example, District Nine ASAP covers Fauquier County, Culpeper, and some of the surrounding counties in that region.
It is not a county-by-county organization, and it is not totally a private entity, instead it is a kind of quasi-governmental agency that is created by the General Assembly and allocated to the different portions of the state.
Virginia DUI Group Therapy Activities
Typically, the ASAP program includes a variety of different DUI therapies and DUI education activities. The most common activities will include group sessions, small breakout groups, and then individual follow-up sessions. There may be a lecture and also a group session and then a breakout to discuss what the participants have learned in the lecture. There also may be films shown and then breakout groups to discuss the films. There may be a one-on-one or group sessions with counselors in which individuals are encouraged to share their experiences and what they have learned from the classes.
Generally, the VASAP DUI course has a set schedule and covers a set number of learning modules. The curriculum is all approved by the Commission on VASAP and it is available online for review.
Core Questions in a Group DUI Discussion
A lot of the curriculum for Virginia involves DUI behaviors, common DUI misconceptions, and common misconceptions about alcohol—including common misconceptions on the consumption of alcohol and safe consumption of alcohol. It can also involve questions and discussions on body chemistry and how much alcohol one can safely consume, as well as questions on the aftermath of a DUI charge in Virginia; how it can involve the entire community and affect both individuals who are charged as well as victims who are involved in DUI accidents; how it raises insurance rates; and how police officers and medical personnel can be traumatized by working at DUI accident and fatality scenes. All things of that nature are covered in the DUI classes.
Difference Between Traffic School and DUI Classes
The DUI educational program is not an equivalent to a driver improvement program. These are two different programs that are governed by different areas of law. VASAP does not allow someone to restore safe driving points, for example. A Virginia DMV-approved driver improvement program, when done voluntarily before a court date, may allow Virginia drivers to get five positive points restored to their driving record. This can be important in a DUI case because DUIs carry six points on someone’s license for a period of 11 years. Even if an individual has a positive driving record before a Virginia DUI case, a DUI can certainly cause damage to an individual’s license as far as points are concerned. Drivers that are convicted of a DUI will often take the voluntary driver improvement course afterwards to restore five points to their record.