When you are convicted of DUI in Kentucky, you must attend a substance abuse or alcohol treatment program. Your attendance at DUI classes is in addition to any other DUI penalties you might receive, such as jail time, fines, suspension of driver’s license, and installation of an ignition interlock system. 

1.  DUI Classes are Mandatory After a Drunk Driving Conviction 

KRS §189A.040 makes the DUI classes mandatory for all individuals convicted of impaired driving. If you fail to complete the required DUI classes, the court reinstates all DUI penalties that it suspended pending completion of the program. The court could also order additional penalties for failing to complete the program. 

2.  DUI Classes Have a Minimum Duration 

The alcohol and treatment plan must continue for a minimum of 90 days. The program provider assesses the person’s substance abuse problems at the beginning of the program. Based on that assessment, the provider develops the DUI classes and program to address the person’s specific substance abuse or alcohol abuse problems.

3.  You Could Be Released Before the End of 90 Days

In some cases, the minimum 90-day period may be waived. The program administrator must submit a written report stating that you completed the recommended program based on your initial assessment. If the state agrees that you successfully completed the recommended DUI classes, you could be released from any further obligation to attend treatment or classes.

4.  You Are Responsible for Payment 

 You must pay the fees associated with the education and treatment program. However, your ability to pay the fees is considered when setting the cost of the program. Failing to pay the fees for mandatory DUI classes is considered contempt of court and could be punished with additional penalties. 

5.  The Program Must Be Approved and Certified by the State

You must choose a provider or facility for treatment that is certified and approved by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. You must take the DUI classes in person. Online classes have not been approved by the state unless you receive advance permission to complete the alcohol treatment plan online. 

6.  Subsequent DUI Convictions Increase the Minimum Duration of DUI Classes

If you are convicted of a second drunk driving offense, the mandatory duration of DUI classes increases to one year. For a third and subsequent DUI convictions, the treatment period is also one year. However, the treatment plan could require inpatient services or a residential-style program.

You cannot receive your driver’s license back until you complete the DUI treatment program. 

What Can You Expect When You Begin the Alcohol Treatment Program?

In general, the initial assessment lasts about an hour. After that, the facility determines the duration of your DUI classes and the program you need to complete based on the assessment. In many cases, facilities recommend a minimum of 20 hours for an alcohol treatment program.

Weekly meetings last about three hours. It takes seven weeks to complete the treatment plan if you receive 20 hours of DUI classes. Most providers do not allow you to take more than one DUI class per week unless the court orders an accelerated program. 

How Can I Avoid DUI Classes in Kentucky?

Hiring a DUI defense lawyer can help you beat the drunk driving charges to avoid DUI classes. There could be one or more DUI defenses that could result in a dismissal of charges. 

Potential DUI defenses include:

  • The police officers did not have reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, which could result in all evidence gathered against you being thrown out
  • The officers failed to perform the BAC tests within the required time requirements
  • The breathalyzer machine was not calibrated correctly or maintained properly
  • The police officer did not perform the BAC or the field sobriety tests according to the requirements 
  • The chain of custody was broken for samples taken for chemical tests
  • The samples for the chemical tests were contaminated
  • You have a health condition that resulted in a BAC level higher than your actual alcohol content level
  • You were forced into making statements or taking a chemical test
  • You were not afforded a criminal defense attorney after asking for a lawyer

A violation of your civil rights or errors made during and after your DUI arrest could help you beat DUI charges. Seeking legal advice before making a statement or pleading guilty is essential if you want to have the best chance of avoiding a DUI conviction and penalties.