Driving under the influence (DUI) classes are courses people who have received DUI convictions must usually attend to satisfy the terms of their sentences. They may also be known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) classes, depending on the terminology used in a region where a driver is convicted. These courses are designed to provide drivers with information about making safe driving choices and being better drivers, and they are usually part of a larger court sentence that may include mandated alcohol counseling, community service, fines, and jail time.
DUI violations are taken very seriously in many regions of the world. In addition to posing a risk to the driver, they also pose a risk to society, as drunk drivers may become involved in accidents with other vehicles, including vehicles driven by sober drivers. Many regions have mandatory sentencing laws for DUI convictions and in other areas, judges are allowed more latitude. In both cases, someone who is convicted of drunk driving can expect to take DUI classes.
Some DUI classes take place over a single long session, usually lasting an entire day. Others may cover a weekend or a longer period of time. While in class, drivers will receive general driving safety information, as well as education about drunk driving and the associated dangers. It is not uncommon for classes to include films and guest lecturers such as police officers or victims of drunk drivers.
While DUI classes are ostensibly designed to provide drivers with information to help them avoid violating the law again, they are also designed as a form of punishment. Using films and lecturers can also be a valuable tool for frightening drivers into avoiding drunk driving in the future. At the end of the class, students may be required to take tests demonstrating the knowledge they absorbed during the course. They can also be asked to reflect on their experiences in the class and to discuss the moral and ethical issues associated with DUI, as well as the legal problems.
When DUI classes are included as part of a sentence, drivers should take a class from an approved list provided by the court. If a class is not listed, it may not be accepted by the court for fulfillment of the sentence. Since there is usually a time limit on completing the DUI classes, taking an unapproved class can potentially jeopardize the driver, as the court can impose additional penalties if the sentence is not completed within the time limit.