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DUI Treatment Programs and Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol affects the central nervous system and areas of the brain that deal with reasoning, decision-making, and muscle coordination, which can lead to impairment.1

Impaired driving affects people every day in the United States and can lead to severe consequences like car crashes or even death.9 In 2020, 11,654 people, or 32 people every day, died of preventable, alcohol-related driving accidents.1

About 1 million people a year are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and likely many more aren’t arrested.9 With those arrests, some people may be required to enter some form of DUI treatment or rehab as part of a diversion program or drug court case. Others may feel that their drug or alcohol misuse is problematic and seek treatment on their own, even after court-ordered treatment.

This article will cover what a DUI is, what court-ordered rehab may entail, what treatment looks like, and how you can find the right DUI treatment program.

What Is a DUI?

Getting a DUI means that a person was caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.8, 9 A DUI is determined by a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the measurement of how much alcohol is in a certain volume of blood.1 For example, the legal limit in all 50 states, except Utah, is a BAC of 0.08%, which means there are 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood.1 Utah’s legal limit is even lower at 0.05% BAC.1

As a person’s BAC rises, the potential for negative effects on the body and central nervous system increase. People may be more likely to engage in unsafe behavior like driving under the influence.1

Alcohol affects everyone differently. Factors that can affect how alcohol impacts a person, and the potential for getting a DUI include:3

  • Gender.
  • Height and weight.
  • Body fat percentage.
  • Genetic predispositions.
  • Drinking on a full or empty stomach, which impacts how quickly one’s body metabolizes alcohol.

People can be more impaired than they feel and may not be obviously intoxicated. However, they can still be impaired enough to cause an accident or put themselves and others at risk, even if their BAC is under .08%.1

What Are the Consequences of a DUI?

The legal consequences for a DUI conviction vary from state to state. There are several factors that may determine specific consequences, like a person’s BAC and whether it is a first offense or if they have other types of convictions and/or previous DUIs.2

Common penalties for driving under the influence may include:2

  • Fines, which can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
  • Jail time, which can depend on whether it is a first offense and can be up to several months.
  • Community service, which requires a certain number of hours to be completed as part of a person’s sentence.
  • License suspension, which may depend on the age of the driver and any previous DUI convictions. People may lose their driver’s license for up to 6 to 12 months.

Some people may be required to install an alcohol ignition interlock in their vehicle to measure their BAC before the car will start. The car will not start if they have a BAC over a certain amount, typically .02%.6 The interlock installation fee and monthly fee are additional expenses one can expect to pay if they are required to install that device.2

Court-Ordered Alcohol Rehab and Diversion Programs

Drug courts may be an option for people with a verified substance use issue. They provide a collaborative approach to discipline and treatment that includes the judiciary, prosecutors, drug and alcohol treatment providers, and local corrections facilities.5 Drug courts have been operating in the U.S. for over 20 years, and there are more than 2,500 drug court programs across the country.5

Some people may qualify for diversion programs, which are aimed at maximizing public health safety and reducing the rates of a person repeating their offense (known as recidivism).4

Previous convictions can disqualify a person, but if a person is eligible to participate in a diversion program, then the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charge once the person completes the agreed-upon diversion program requirements.4 If the person does not comply with all elements of the program, the prosecutor will reinstate the DUI charge.4

Court-ordered treatment can vary depending on the person’s needs and sentence and may include:7

  • Inpatient, residential treatment. Typically for people with more severe addiction(s), inpatient programs can last from a few weeks to months. They provide around-the-clock treatment services that are monitored by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals while the person resides at the facility.7
  • Outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment can vary in intensity and duration and allows people to continue to work and live at home while visiting the facility for a required number of hours per week.7
  • Individual and group counseling: Various forms of behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective in helping people learn what triggers their substance use as well as teach them healthy coping skills to maintain their sobriety. This can be accomplished in individual or group counseling sessions but usually involves a combination of the two.7
  • DUI classes: Psychoeducation on the effects and dangers of alcohol and driving under the influence.4

Requirements for DUI Treatment Programs

Whether a person is entering court-ordered treatment or participating in a diversion program, there will be ongoing requirements to fulfill. Different states and programs have unique requirements; however, it is likely many will include:4, 5

  • Random (and/or scheduled) drug testing.
  • Abstinence from alcohol and other illicit substances for the duration of the program.
  • Community service component.

What Happens After DUI Treatment?

If a person can participate in drug court or a diversion program, the following may happen after completion of court-ordered treatment:

  • Charges may be dismissed.
  • They may receive a reduced sentence.
  • Lesser penalties
  • Combination of the above outcomes

A person can also choose to continue treatment and recovery on their own if they feel like it’s necessary but will not be required to attend treatment after court-ordered treatment is completed.

If a person does not fulfill the requirements of court-mandated treatment, they may face legal consequences.4

Finding Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs

Regardless of the type of treatment or rehab program one enters, finding treatment with individualized treatment plans may increase the potential for positive outcomes.7

If you feel as though you need more treatment than what is court-ordered, don’t hesitate to reach out to the caring team at American Addiction Centers (AAC). You can call any time of day at to speak with an admissions navigator who will review your treatment options and help check your insurance coverage. Call today to continue your path of recovery.

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