Being charged and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can have a lasting impression on your life. Luckily, receiving a DUI doesn’t have to change your entire life. But the situation is an indication that you do need to pick up the pieces of your life and change your drinking habits. If not, you may find yourself with repeat DUI offenses or, even worse, harm yourself or someone else. Fortunately, you can prevent this destructive pattern. Seeking out and participating in professional addiction treatment, like the alcohol rehab program we offer here at Genesis Recovery, is one of the best ways to change your life for the better after being charged with a DUI.
What Is A DUI?
A DUI is a criminal charge given to individuals that operate a motor vehicle when they are unable to do so safely. Even though a DUI typically refers to driving under the influence of alcohol, a DUI can also refer to any drug, legal, or illegal, even if the driver has a prescription. Some states refer to a DUI charge as driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI).
When a DUI refers to alcohol, law enforcement officers use blood alcohol content (BAC) to determine if a person is driving while impaired. If you’re driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you can be charged with a DUI in all 50 states. Although the penalties for a DUI vary from state to state, a DUI is a serious offense that can lead to jail time and a lengthy license suspension.
What Happens If You Get a DUI or DWI?
There are a number of different penalties commonly associated with a DUI. If you’re charged with a DUI, for example, you might:
- Have your license suspended
- Be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
- Have to pay fines and be placed on probation
- Have mandatory, court-ordered substance abuse treatment
- Have to spend time in jail
- Engage in random drug and alcohol tests while on probation
- Have to do community service
A DUI can cause also cause issues in your daily life that include:
- Job loss
- Strained family relationships
- Financial loss due to attorney and other legal fees
- Higher car insurance rates
- An inability to work in certain professions
Penalties of a First Offense DUI in California
Here, in California, where Genesis Recovery is based, a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor that typically comes with the following penalties:
- 3 to 5 years of probation
- $390 to $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
- DUI school
- A 6-month driver’s license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
Some counties also impose a short amount of jail time or work release. In addition to these penalties, most people arrested and charged with a DUI may wonder if they have a drinking problem. Luckily, enrolling in a professional rehab program can help individuals overcome problem drinking and alcohol addiction challenges.
Seeking Rehabilitation After A DUI
California is one of the strictest states when it comes to DUI laws. But the good news is that if you’ve been charged with a DUI, there are many different ways you can begin to seek addiction treatment. You can:
Talk To Your Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a DUI but are ready to change your relationship with alcohol, your attorney is a good person to talk to about addiction treatment. Let your attorney know that you’re willing to enroll in a professional treatment program. Your attorney can then share this information with the judge, who may be more lenient when individuals agree to get help. You, your attorney, and the judge can work together to come up with a treatment plan and locate an affordable, evidence-based professional rehabilitation center.
Participate in A Drug and Alcohol Education Program or “DUI School.”
Sometimes, courts mandate alcohol education programs following a DUI conviction. If not, your attorney may recommend you participate in this program in an effort to make better decisions in the future. These programs are designed to help individuals learn more about drug and alcohol use. Education programs can vary but drug and alcohol education programs typically begin with an evaluation to determine whether you meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD). From there, the program usually covers a variety of topics, including:
- The effects of alcohol
- Warning signs of alcohol addiction
- Consequences of driving under the influence
- Information about alcohol addiction treatment programs
Even though alcohol education programs focus more on identifying an alcohol use disorder rather than treating addiction, these programs can help individuals realize they have a drinking problem, which, in turn, can help encourage them to seek out professional addiction treatment.
Attend Local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings
Individuals charged with a DUI can also receive recommendations for addiction treatment programs by attending local AA meetings. Even though most people attend AA meetings after or during treatment, being around other recovering individuals can help motivate you to begin your own recovery journey. In addition to that, attending AA meetings can help you:
- Learn new strategies for overcoming addiction
- Connect with like-minded individuals
- Learn about professional treatment programs in the area
- Build relationships with sober, healthy, individuals
- Begin the 12 steps of recovery
Pre-Trial Diversion and Diversion Programs
Occasionally, the legal system offers individuals the opportunity to voluntarily enter into a substance use disorder treatment program in lieu of incarceration. In other cases, the legal system may actually enroll individuals into a treatment program before the person is prosecuted. These programs are known as pre-trial diversion programs. Typically, these programs include:
- Therapy sessions
- Inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on the severity of the charges
Research Treatment Programs
If you’ve exhausted all these other options, you can also research and enroll in a treatment program on your own. You don’t have to rely on the legal system to help you look for addiction treatment. You can do your own research or ask family and friends to help. If you choose this route, look for rehabilitation programs that offer:
- Detoxification services
- One-on-one counseling
- Group sessions
- Medication management
- Trauma therapy
- Family therapy
- A dual diagnosis program that treats mental health and substance use disorders
Helping You Start Fresh After A DUI
Here, at Genesis Recovery, we wholeheartedly believe in the concept of beginning again. Your past mistakes do not have to determine your future. Our alcohol addiction treatment program can help you start again after being charged with a DUI. Our program can help you:
- Detox your body
- Overcome addiction challenges
- Reinvigorate your spirit
- Build healthy relationships
- Successfully walk through the 12 steps of recovery
Contact us today if you or a loved one have alcohol addiction challenges or are dealing with the consequences of a DUI.