September 13th, 2019 | Updated on March 3rd, 2020
Driving under the influence, also known as DUI, is the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of some type of substance, whether it’s drugs or alcohol, including medications prescribed by physicians.
The charge applies whenever the driver is incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle. Getting a DUI can be a life-changing event.
In fact, the driver’s license will likely be suspended, even if they’re not convicted in a criminal court. The DMV will make sure any individual shown to be driving with an above-the-legal-limit blood alcohol concentration is removed from the roads.
This is for good reason as the risks of driving under the influence are severe – from hitting a pedestrian to getting in a deadly accident.
What Are The Penalties Of A DUI?
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed and roughly 63,000 are injured each year across the country due to impairment-related crashes.
This is why the penalties of a DUI can be so severe. In most cases, a DUI will be classified as a misdemeanour.
The penalties for a DUI can range depending on where you’re located, but typically, they may include the following:
- The driver’s license may be suspended
- The driver may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car
- The DUI may be noted on the driver’s record
- The driver may be required to pay a large fine
- The driver may be sentenced to jail time
Studies show a significant portion of drivers convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders.
This suggests that many individuals who have been caught before aren’t getting the proper treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Many geographic regions offer first-time offenders the chance to get treatment rather than face many of the penalties listed above.
This is a great way to help individuals who need assistance getting sober rather than punish them and see them back on the roads later on.
How Does Attending An Addiction Rehab Program Help Those Who Are Facing DUI Charges?
More often than not, first-time offenders will be given the chance to earn their licenses back.
They may need to complete an educational program, commonly known as DUI school, wherein they showcase their understanding of the importance of road safety.
Before they start DUI school, they may be required to meet with a counsellor who will determine whether or not an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is present.
If this is found to be the case, they will likely be offered a referral to one or more of the following:
- A medical detox program
- An inpatient addiction recovery program
- An outpatient addiction recovery program
- A support group and/or meeting for addicts
While some experts believe a court-ordered addiction rehab program isn’t as effective because the individual is forced into it, studies have shown that most people who attend have as good, if not better, outcomes than addicts who enter treatment on their own free-will.
What Should Offenders Expect From An Addiction Rehab Program?
Although court-ordered, the addiction rehab program will be very similar for a DUI offender as it is for someone entering on their own accord. The treatment will not be influenced based on the reason for admission.
Typically, a counsellor will work with the offender to figure out the best course of treatment for the addiction.
This may include medical detox wherein the individual stays in a dedicated facility wherein the withdrawal process is safely managed to ensure:
- Proper medications, such as benzodiazepines, are used to assist with physical and emotional symptoms.
- Proper monitoring is provided to ensure any concerning symptoms and/or problems are addressed immediately.
Once the medical detox is complete, the offender will start on the path towards recovery, whether you’re in an inpatient or an outpatient program.
Typically, they can expect a series of therapeutic sessions designed to get to the bottom of their addiction. This may include:
Individual Behavioural Therapy
Where in behavioural responses to specific triggers are addressed to help you learn new, healthier responses to those triggers.
Wherein all participants are given the opportunity to share their challenges and/or struggles and enhance one another’s emotional healing.
Wherein the individual’s family is invited to participate in discussing the way addiction impacts each person in the unit.
Wherein the individual receives tailored help for stress management, grief counselling, and overall, anything necessary for their unique situation.
Ultimately, those who are facing DUI charges will greatly benefit from the opportunity to turn their life around with an addiction rehab program.
This helps minimize the risk of repeat offenses while ensuring the individual gets the help they need to live a long, sober, and happy life.
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