If you are accused of driving under the influence in Norfolk, Virginia you may be able to help your case by attending an alcohol education program. Below, a Norfolk DUI lawyer discusses these programs, their benefit, and where they are available. For more legal assistance with your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
An alcohol education course is a program that educates people about alcohol abuse. Typically, it involves not only education, but it will also provide counseling, alcohol and drug screenings, and sometimes an evaluation at the end of the course. The point is to get somebody out of this vicious cycle and to understand the consequences of what they have been doing in hopes of using this education and treatment to prevent further issues from recurring.
The obvious advantage is that if someone really does have a problem, then an education course is a step in the right direction. For someone charged with a DUI, the reason that an attorney will recommend these courses beforehand is because it provides a good mitigating factor for having a DUI reduced to a more manageable sentence or to argue for a lesser penalty. This is because it shows the prosecutor and the judge that someone is not just sitting around twirling their thumbs, but rather they’re being proactive in their own recovery.
This demonstrates a willingness on the part of the defendant to be rehabilitated and that they have learned a lesson and are trying to remedy the situation that brought them to court in the first place.
The primary ones in Norfolk are the ones through AA and the ones through VASAP. AA classes are just meetings and since they’re anonymous, there isn’t any official documentation for people who attend. If this is a route that a client is taking, then it is usually a good idea that they get a little notebook and document their own attendance by writing down the date, times, and locations that they attended the meeting and getting someone from AA to sign off that they were in fact there.
VASAP is through the state and it’s what the court imposes as treatment when it requires it. VASAP is not anonymous and the results of screenings or missed appointments will all be documented and usually sent to the court.
Since it’s not court-ordered, many attorneys would advise you to either go to AA instead of VASAP, or to go to private counseling. The advantage of private counseling is that it’s a lot more flexible because it’s just one on one rather than meetings like AA which is a whole group. You can work private counseling sessions into your schedule a lot more easily and they also provide you with a summary report on what you’ve done since you started attending, and an evaluation of your progress up to that point.
Someone should definitely take these courses very seriously. Not all people who are charged with a DUI necessarily have an alcohol abuse problem, but in the eyes of the court, it’s going to look better to demonstrate that someone took matters into their own hands and got help regardless of whether they believe they needed it or not.
DUI charges are a huge deal and because the defendant has hired an attorney, they should be aware of how serious the matter is. Therefore, they should expect to work to get themselves a good result with their case. They should expect to give the education course their best effort because they want to finish with a good evaluation from their counselor so that they can have strong mitigating evidence in court and potentially receive a positive outcome in their case.
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