Drink Drive Rehabilitation Courses
Changing your intemperate ways
From 1 January 2000, courts throughout England, Wales and Scotland have an extra sentencing option for drink/drive offenders. If you are convicted of an offence involving drinking and driving the magistrate, or sheriff in Scotland, may offer you the opportunity of attending a rehabilitation course. Completion of a course, each of which is approved by the Government, will entitle you to a reduction of up to a quarter in the period of disqualification. In the case of a one year period of disqualification, the reduction will be three months. The court will decide the length of reduction for longer periods of disqualification.
If the magistrate or sheriff believes you may benefit from attending a rehabilitation course he or she will ask you if you are prepared to accept a referral to the local course organiser It will be for you to decide whether to accept this offer. There will be a charge, payable in addition to any fine. This fee will be set by the course organiser and you will be told the course fee by the magistrate, or sheriff in Scotland.
Before making a referral order the magistrate or sheriff will ensure that you are at least 17 years of age; that a place is available on a local course; that you are fully aware of the effect of the order including the payment required for attending the course, and that you have agreed that the order should be made.
If you agree to the referral, you will be informed of the arrangements for the rehabilitation course either at court or by being contacted by the local course organiser. Arrangements for courses will vary from area to area. Typically, courses will last between 16 and 30 hours in total, made up of a number of separate sessions. Each course will probably have some 8 to 20 participants.
The rehabilitation course is not intended to punish you further; you will already have been disqualified and probably fined for your offence. The purpose of the course is to teach you about the effects of alcohol consumption. A range of issues will be covered, including information about alcohol and its effect on the body; the effect of alcohol consumption on performance, particularly driving ability, and behaviour; analysis of drink/driving offences; alternatives to drinking and driving future action and sources of advice. The content of courses run by different organisers may vary but is likely to involve short lectures; group discussion; role play; assessment of personal drinking habits and presentations by policemen, lawyers or doctors.
Successful completion of the course depends on regular attendance, payment of the fees in advance and compliance with the course organiser's reasonable requirements. When you have completed the course you will be given a Certificate of Completion to present to the court. The court will then notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of your reduced disqualification period. The course must be completed at least two months before the end of the reduced period of disqualification to allow the Agency time to take account of the reduction. The Agency cannot deal with your application for the return of your licence until the court has advised them of the reduced period of disqualification. The final possible date for completion will be specified in the original referral order issued by the court.
If you fail to comply with the conditions for completing the course, the course organiser may refuse to issue a Certificate of Completion. In this case, a Notice of Non-Completion will be given to you, although you may appeal to the court if you do not think this is justified. If the court believes you are right it will issue a declaration which will have the same effect as a Certificate of Completion.
If you are offered a place on a rehabilitation course and have any questions, ask the magistrate or sheriff when you are sentenced or talk to the court administrators or your solicitor.
Summary of the Scheme
- If convicted of a drink/drive offence you may be offered the opportunity to attend a rehabilitation course.
- It is for you to decide whether to accept this offer.
- You will be required to pay for the course
- If you satisfactorily complete the course your period of disqualification will be reduced by up to a quarter
- The court will decide whether to offer you a place on a rehabilitation course, and, if so, by how much the period of disqualification will be reduced.
Information from the leaflet "Rehabilitation Course for Drink Drivers" published by the Department of the Environment, Transport & the Regions 1998
Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course Providers
The Albert Centre - based in Middlesbrough and covering the north east
Drink Driver Education - dde has over 25 years experience in alcohol/drug education. They offer courses throughout Bucks, Berks, Oxon, Surrey, Hillingdon (Uxbridge), and NE & NW Hants. Some useful background info available on their website.
Drivewise - DriveWise provide courses for a number of courts in South East England and Norfolk.
HAPAS - Hertfordshire Alcohol Problem Advisory Service
reForm - South, East and West Yorkshire; North Lincolnshire
TTC 2000 - One of the UK's major providers of DD Rehab Courses, covering the Midlands, Wales and the North. Approved by the DETR since 1993. Full course details and online booking available on their website.
VMCL - Courses provided throughout England and Scotland.
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