What to Do Against Domestic Violence During COVID-19

As COVID-19 rages around the world, governments have been instructing the public to stay at home to stay safe. The thing is, “at home” isn’t always the safest place for everyone, at least not for domestic abuse victims.

This pandemic – and the quarantine and travel restrictions that came with it – has made it even more difficult for people in abusive relationships to find refuge in their friends and family or seek legal help from a domestic violence attorney.

If you (or someone you know) are a victim of domestic abuse, here’s how you can protect yourself (or your loved ones) against domestic violence during COVID-19.

Recognize domestic abuse.

A lot of people associate domestic abuse with physical violence, which is why many victims fail to recognize that they are in an abusive relationship until it’s too late.

While physical violence is the most obvious sign of domestic abuse, it does not always have to involve punches, kicks, wounds, and bruises.  Any relationship that aims to intimidate, threaten, or gain control of the other – be it spouse, a partner, or a family member, is considered abusive.

Domestic abuse can be expressed in many ways:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Social abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Spiritual abuse

Domestic abuse knows no age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. No matter who you are or what you are in life is, you can be a victim. These are telling signs of an abusive relationship that you should look out for.

  • Gaslighting
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Bruises, burns, or bite marks
  • Having your finances controlled
  • Not being allowed to leave the house or go to school/work
  • Being pressured into sex
  • Public humiliation
  • Being belittled or told you’re worthless

If any of these are happening to you, you may be a victim of domestic abuse.

Stay prepared and develop a safety plan.

No matter how much you try to appease the situation, you cannot always avoid violence when you’re in an abusive relationship. That said, you must always have a plan in place for when things escalate into an emergency.

How can you keep yourself and your children safe? Where can you go? What’s the safest and fastest way to get out of the house? These are some of the most critical questions you need to find answers to.

Also, make sure to have essentials hidden and ready just in case you need to depart right away – an extra car key, your purse, credit card, and spare clothes. Being prepared can make all the difference.

Know that it’s not your fault.

An abuser is abusive because it’s who they are. Nothing you say or do will ever change them, so never make excuses for the perpetrators’ actions. You do not deserve to be abused, and it’s not your fault. Keep in mind that it’s never okay for someone to belittle, hurt, or threaten you. Blaming yourself for what’s happening will only lead to a vicious cycle of abuse.

Self-care is vital, now more than ever. This pandemic leaves you with almost no other choice but to stay at home with the person who’s causing you distress, so make sure to take care of your emotions and pour your time into healthy activities.

Seek help and reach out to people you trust.

In these uncertain times, it would be better if you stay with family and friends. But if that’s not possible, at least let them know what you’re going through. Also, keep someone in close proximity informed of your situation. It could be a friend living nearby or a trusted neighbor. This way, it’s easier for you to ask for help when you need it.

If you don’t have friends and family who can help you in case of emergencies, you can always call 911 or the National Domestic Violence hotline. Do not be afraid to ask for immediate help.

Though going out still poses some level of risk because of the Coronavirus, many states are beginning to ease their stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders. You don’t have to be trapped at home with your abuser.

Many domestic violence safe houses around the country are ready to take you in and keep you safe. They can even help you take appropriate action and seek the legal protection you deserve.

About the Author 

Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books, and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.

DUI During COVID-19: Why You Wouldn’t Want to Get Arrested

The Coronavirus has disrupted the way we live our lives and function as a society on so many different levels – and this includes our courts and justice system. In fact, even as industries and businesses are slowly reopening, most courts have yet to return to full operations.

But just because court hearings are suspended for the time being does not mean the law isn’t being enforced. If you’re drunk driving during the pandemic, chances are, you will still get pulled over, arrested, and face DUI penalties.

The consequences for drunk driving during the pandemic are just as bad, if not worse than before.

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink and Drive During COVID-19

1. You may still end up in jail.

Make no mistake: DUI is considered a grave offense in all the states and, despite the health protocols and social distancing measures in force around the country, driving under the influence during the pandemic will still get you arrested.

To prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the courts aim to keep people out of jail as much as possible these days. This means that persons arrested for DUI are likely to be sent home to wait for their arraignment. However, you cannot entirely eliminate the possibility of landing in jail.

If you do end up in police custody after a DUI arrest, get in touch with a DUI attorney immediately. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and get you out of jail, especially with the COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

2. The Courts aren’t running at full swing.

Courts have ceased nearly all in-court hearings in the wake of the pandemic. Under normal circumstances (pre COVID-19), your arraignment should take plays just days after your arrest. But because courts are extending their court dates, you may have to wait for months before your case is heard. In fact, several states have moved their jury trials indefinitely.  

If you’re lucky, though, your DUI attorney can get you a virtual hearing for your DUI case and the process can move a little bit faster then.

3. You will still have to attend DUI school.

The pandemic has made it unsafe for people to attend face-to-face classes, but many DUI schools are now operating remotely through Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms. Yes, you will have to attend online DUI classes if you want to have your driver’s license reinstated. And yes, it will cost you a pretty penny.

If you’re a first-time DUI offender, you may also be required to complete 34-hours of AB541 classes over the course of three months.

4. It’s harder to get conditional driving privileges.

You run the risk of getting your license suspended longer than necessary if you get arrested for DUI during the pandemic.

Many DMV (Department of Motor Services) offices are only operating at 50% capacity and some only accept visitors by appointment. This means it may take you a while to complete the requirements for license reinstatement or application for temporary driving privileges.

Got Arrested for DUI During the Pandemic?

We are at a confusing and unprecedented time, and our courts and legal system are not as efficient as they used to be. With all that’s going on, getting arrested for DUI in the midst of COVID-19 can be very troublesome. DUI cases are already complex and the current situation is only making it more complicated.

Pandemic or not, you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. But if you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI during this difficult time, seek the guidance and support of an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.

The Consequences of Ignition Interlock Device Violations

Driving while intoxicated (DWI), also referred to as DUI or driving under the influence, is a criminal offense in all states.

As such, a DWI conviction comes with several penalties, including jail time, hefty fines, driver’s license suspension, and ignition interlock device installation.

An IID is a device directly connected to the ignition, headlights, and horn of a DWI offender’s vehicle. It acts as a breathalyzer that requires a breath sample from drivers. With an IID, the only way DWI offenders can start the car is to pass that initial breath test.

If their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is found to be at or higher than a predetermined low limit, usually 0.02%, they fail the test, and the IID will prevent the car from starting.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia implementing ignition interlock laws in one form or another, IID installation has become a common penalty for those convicted of a DWI offense, especially repeat offenders.

There are also rules that cover the use of ignition interlock devices. If the DWI offender violates any of these rules, there will be corresponding penalties.

List of Ignition Interlock Violations

States may vary when it comes to their ignition interlock laws, but all of them generally consider the following as IID violations:

Ignoring IID Installation Orders—When a court orders you to install an ignition interlock device in your car, and you fail to do so, you will likely face criminal misdemeanor charges for disobeying a court order.
Driving Someone Else’s Car With No IID—Even if you have installed an IID in your car, driving the car of a friend or a relative that doesn’t have an ignition interlock device installed still constitutes a violation of the rules.
Trying To Cheat The IID—Any attempt to cheat or trick your ignition interlock device, like getting a sober friend to blow into the device for you so you can start the car, is considered tampering with your IID, which is a major violation of IID rules.
Removing/Disabling The IID—Your IID provider will know that you have removed or disabled the device and will promptly report you to the state legal authority for not complying with your IID requirement.
Failing Multiple Breath Tests—Most IIDs are designed to allow drivers to try again after some time should they fail the initial breath test. However, the waiting period will increase with each breath test until the device locks you out for hours.
Failing or Ignoring Rolling Retests—All IIDs conduct what is known as rolling retests to ensure that the driver remains sober for the entire trip. Done at random intervals, all drivers under an IID program must perform and pass these rolling retests or face additional consequences.
Failure To Attend Scheduled Service Appointments—IIDs are supposed to be serviced every 30 days or so. Be ready for more penalties if you don’t bring your vehicle in for a recalibration as scheduled.

IID Violation Consequences & Penalties

DWI offenders who violate rules covering the use of ignition interlock devices are at risk of facing the following penalties:

Lockouts

Failing consecutive breath tests, failing or ignoring random rolling retests, and not showing up for scheduled recalibrations can lead to a lockout, which means you won’t be able to use your car for a certain period.

Lockouts can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of your violation. While temporary lockouts can last 15 minutes to a few hours, permanent lockouts can last for days. You may also have to get your car towed to the IID service center for a reset.

Heavy Fines

IID violators will be meted fines that may vary according to the state. The severity of their infringement will also be a factor.

It is common for DWI offenders caught driving without an IID installed in their car to be fined $1,000 to $5,000. Authorities may also impound your vehicle.
Asking someone else to provide the initial breath sample will also be fined approximately the same amount.

Extension of IID Order

In many states, ignition interlock violations like failing to install an IID in your car despite a court order will mean an extension of the IID requirement duration, typically for six months. It’s not unheard of for some violators to end up being penalized with a lifetime IID installation, though.

License Revocation

Those ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their car typically drive with restricted licenses. Should they violate the rules of their IID program, their restricted license will likely be revoked.

Jail Time

Whether or not a DWI offender will be sent behind bars after committing IID violations will depend on the judge handling the case and the severity of your infractions, but getting jail time is possible for IID violators.

Deal With IID Violations With The Help of A DWI Attorney

The consequences of violating the rules that cover ignition interlock devices are no joke. They can be costly and could ruin your job, career, or life.

With all the penalties you will potentially face for committing an IID violation, it would be in your best interest to toe the line when it comes to ignition interlock rules. There is no better way of avoiding the consequences that come with violating them.

However, if you’re being accused of an infraction when there is none, you can always choose to defend yourself. If you truly believe that you didn’t violate anything, then get the services of a DWI lawyer to help you sort everything out.

You can claim that you failed breath tests because the IID actually reported false positives, which is sometimes the case with breathalyzers. You can also raise doubts about the accuracy of the data the device provided to authorities.

A skilled and experienced DWI lawyer will have your back when you fight back against accusations of violating ignition interlock device rules. With his or her expertise in the field of DWI, you can expect the best possible defense.

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Your Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock devices are proving to be an effective tool in the campaign against drunk driving, especially when it comes to reducing DUI recidivism.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia implementing ignition interlock laws in one form or another, DUI offenders all over the United States can all be ordered by the court trying their case to install an IID in their car.

Should you find yourself among them, you need to keep in mind that a court-ordered ignition interlock program has rules that you need to follow or face further legal consequences.

Here are some of the dos and don’ts of using an ignition interlock device.

DO: Heed court orders and install an IID.

One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when it comes to IIDs is ignoring the court order to install one in your car.

Ignition interlock installation is usually part of a DUI offender’s probation, and not installing an IID despite court orders is a violation of its terms.

The court may order your arrest to face a probation violation hearing. Once the court finds that you did violate your probation, the judge will likely tighten its terms, order you to pay a fine, and even sentence you to jail.

DON’T: Tamper with the device.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about trying to remove, disable, trick, or damage the device.

Tampering with an ignition interlock device comes with harsh consequences, including a maximum of 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

You will also have to pay for a damaged IID, a rather expensive piece of equipment usually owned by a private ignition interlock device provider.

DO: Bring your car in for device calibrations.

You are required to have your device calibrated every 30 to 180 days, depending on your state.

Calibration ensures that your IID is in good working condition. Skip it, and you could find yourself dealing with a device lockout, which presents a different set of problems for you.

DON’T: Leave your engine running.

If you occasionally leave your car and keep the engine running for whatever reason, it would be in your best interest to break this habit.

IIDs are designed to prompt DUI offenders for random “rolling retests” to ensure that you’re staying sober while on the road. That means you could be up for one at any time and end up missing the alert and the test altogether.

A missed test will be reported as a failed test, which could help put you in further trouble down the line. Device lockouts also happen due to failed tests.

DO: Start your car from time to time.

Even when you’re not planning on going anywhere, it would be best to start and drive your car from time to time, perhaps once every couple of days. That’s because your IID draws power from your battery.

The device needs a constant power supply of 12 volts to work properly. Not starting your car for long periods could affect the performance of your car battery, which could end up supplying the device with less than the required 12 volts.

If the voltage drops, the device might interpret it as a tampering attempt and report it as such.

DON’T: Consume food and drinks that contain alcohol.

It’s a given that you shouldn’t drink alcohol before starting your car because your IID will undoubtedly detect it on your breath and prevent you from starting the engine.

The problem is, some foods, drinks, and consumer goods contain certain amounts of alcohol.

Mustard, for example, often contains wine or other types of alcohol. The same goes for some brands of soy sauce. There are also soft drinks with alcohol content.

Then there’s mouthwash, whose alcohol content is even higher than most beers and wines.

To avoid a fail on your IID test, stay away from these products, at least in the minutes before attempting to start your car.

Being in an ignition interlock program can get tough, but as long as you finish it while following the rules, you will see the device legally removed from your car sooner than you think.

5 Reasons Why You Should Prepare A Will Now

Do you have assets like cash and property that contribute to a positive net worth? Do you actually care who gets them when the inevitable happens?

If your answer to both questions is a yes, then you must prepare a will while there’s still time.

It’s unfortunate how some people dismiss estate planning as something that only the wealthy must do. What they fail to realize immediately is that their affairs also need to be settled and their assets distributed, no matter how small.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that many middle-aged Americans still don’t have a will. It’s also possible that many senior citizens haven’t even discussed with an elder law attorney the importance of having one prepared.

If you are one of the many Americans who haven’t drafted a will just yet, here are five reasons why you should, regardless of whether you have kids or not.

1. You Can Name Your Own Executor

Preparing a will allows you to appoint a person you trust to act as executor, who will manage your entire estate and do things like pay your bills and taxes and distribute your assets, among other things.

Without a will, the court will be the one to appoint an executor, possibly someone you don’t trust enough to manage your estate. Only by preparing a will yourself can prevent this from happening.

2. You Can Distribute Your Assets The Way You Want It

As stated above, a will distributes your assets accordingly. Create one now, and you’ll have complete control over who gets what.

While you’re obliged to follow inheritance laws in your state that may compel you to leave to your spouse a certain percentage of the assets you acquired during your marriage, you still have the right to leave specific assets to people of your choosing. Name them clearly in a will, and those people will receive whatever it is you’re bequeathing them.

3. You Can Nominate A Guardian For Your Kids

Parents are always worried about what would become of their minor children if death suddenly comes for them.

Preparing a will can relieve you of this concern, as you can use the document to nominate a person whom you trust enough to take care of your kids when you pass on.

As with the appointment of an executor, the court will take it upon itself to name a guardian for your underage kids if you die without a will. Create a will now if you don’t even want to think about the possibility of the court naming the wrong person as guardian for your kids

4. Everything Will Go Smoothly

You’ve probably seen enough movies and TV shows that feature a lot of drama about relatives squabbling over the assets of a relative who just died and left a fortune.

While what is shown on screen is mostly exaggerated for dramatic effect, people do fight over inheritance, especially when the assets left behind are considerable, and there’s no will. It’s not uncommon for an estate without a will to go through protracted legal battles about who rightfully gets what.

There will be no such drama if you have prepared a will. It will be ironclad and save maybe for a few technicalities or glitches, the whole thing will likely go smoothly and be sorted out as quickly as possible.

5. You’ll Have Peace of Mind

A will is meant to be followed to the letter. Once you have prepared one, you will have peace of mind knowing that all your wishes will be respected and carried out when the time comes.

The importance of a will cannot be stressed enough. If possible, don’t do DIY estate planning. Talk to a legitimate estate planning attorney instead to ensure that everything about your will is in order.

5 Lessons You Can Expect To Learn From DUI Classes

It’s not easy being a DUI offender.

Once a court finds you guilty of driving under the influence, you’re bound to face penalties that include a jail sentence, hefty fines, and probation.

The judge may also order you to complete a DUI education program at your own expense.

You might see attending DUI classes online or otherwise as a rather harsh punishment in the sense that you’ll have to sit through hours of lectures and group discussions, and you’ll have to pay for them.

Then again, if you take them seriously (which you should, or else), you will learn things that will serve you well in life, particularly in relation to drinking and driving.

Let’s take a look at some of the lessons you can expect to learn from DUI education programs.

1. The Importance of Drinking Responsibly

It’s safe to assume that the people who run DUI classes don’t really expect participants to give up alcohol altogether, although that would be an ideal result.

What a DUI class does then is to teach its students to be more responsible when they imbibe alcohol.

Binge drinking, for example, can be classified as a highly irresponsible way of consuming alcohol because of the risks that come with it. 

A DUI class will help you see the pitfalls of binge drinking and provide advice on how to avoid it, among other things.

DUI classes will also stress the importance of always having a fallback whenever you’re too intoxicated to drive, like having a friend drive you home or calling a cab or ride-sharing service so you can get home safely.

2. Drunk Driving Hurts and Kills Actual People 

Let’s say your DUI arrest was relatively uneventful, as it happened during a routine DUI stop.

If that’s the case, then you can consider yourself fortunate. Other drunk drivers aren’t so lucky.

Over the decades, drunk driving has injured and killed tens of thousands of people. Most drunk driving accidents are well-documented through photos, many of which could be gruesome enough to make people faint.

If you’re attending a DUI class, expect the lecturers to show these graphic images to you and more.

To further drive home the very real dangers of drunk driving, DUI classes may also make participants listen to testimonials from loved ones left behind by victims of drunk drivers.

They may even bring in drunk drivers convicted of manslaughter or even murder to tell you how much they regret their decision to drive drunk only to end up ruining the lives of other people.

3. How To Make Better Life Decisions

A key part of a DUI education class involves providing participants with a variety of scenarios related to drinking and driving.

With the lecturer’s guidance, you and your fellow students will navigate the given scenarios until you reach the correct and responsible decision that will help you avoid an incident that results in a DUI.

With such scenarios, you can learn how to make better decisions not only about drinking and driving but life in general as well.

4. What Triggers Your Alcohol Use

All sorts of substance use are often triggered by something. In your case, a DUI class will help you identify the things in your life that make you want to drink and subsequently drive.

Once you have identified the reasons for your alcohol use that led to a DUI conviction, DUI education programs will help you explore them through classes and counseling sessions, where you can learn how to keep them from resurfacing and putting you in trouble once again.

5. It Pays To Have Only Positive Influences Around You

When attending a DUI class, your lecturer will likely ask you to make an honest assessment of the people in your life and find out which ones really care about you and who are nothing more than bad influences that enable your drinking and driving.

In line with its goal of helping participants avoid future DUI incidents, a DUI class will recommend that you need to try to exclude bad influences from your social circle.

You will learn the importance of surrounding yourself only with friends and loved ones who will support you and help you make responsible choices.

Completing DUI education programs may take some time and effort on your part, but with the valuable lessons you learn from DUI classes, you will stand a better chance of having a future without another DUI in the picture.

Consequences of Drinking and Driving During The Pandemic

The fact that drunk driving endangers lives is no longer up for debate. However, apart from drunk drivers risking their lives and countless others, drunk driving can also increase the insurance cost for drivers across the United States.

Recent statistics show that attitude towards alcohol-impaired driving has dramatically changed over the years, thanks to positive organizational movements and campaigns.

However, to date, there are still alarming data about drunk driving—injuries and fatalities are still significant, many individuals still think it’s safe to drive after having a few drinks, and most people don’t even have a clue what the penalties for a first offense extreme DUI are. 

Drunk Driving Statistics

Here are some distressing statistics on drunk driving in a typical year:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people in the United States die in motor crashes that involve alcohol-impaired drivers
  • Car accidents that are alcohol-related cost the U.S. as much as $44 billion annually
  • Approximately 67% of U.S. men and women are likely to get involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetimes
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one-third of fatal crashes involve drunk drivers

Drunk Driving and the COVID-19 Pandemic

There is no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has some unexpected impact on today’s DUI statistics. But just how drastically is the pandemic affecting the numbers? To put things in perspective, let’s examine some previous and current statistics. 

For instance, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reported 377 deaths and 1,171 injuries due to alcohol-related crashes between 2015 and 2017. At the end of March 2019, Missouri police arrested 293 people for drunk driving. 

This 2020, on the same weekend, police arrested only 94 people for drunk driving. If the numbers stay consistent, Missouri is on track to reducing the numbers by as much as seventy percent!

Fortunately, the same trend is emerging across other states. Case in point: only four people were arrested for driving under the influence in Nebraska on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s a 15-year low for the state. 

Dorchester and Berkeley County, on the other hand, made no arrests in March. Charleston County, on the other hand, detained only 13 individuals for DUI charges last March. New Mexico DUI arrests are also down by as much as fifty percent.

Understandably, these dramatic drops are attributed to the “stay at home” orders implemented in most states. Tourism-dense states like Hawaii attribute the decline in DUI arrests to fewer tourists driving on the roads.

Interestingly though, alcohol sales went up. Nielsen’s study indicated that alcohol sales spiked by as much as fifty-five percent and showed no signs of slowing down. This figure also shows that while Americans are buying and drinking more, they are doing it at home.

DUI During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Consequences and What to Expect

When arrested for DUI, what are the possible consequences?

Immediate financial responsibilities

Make no mistake about it; getting a DUI can be costly. Even before you are formally convicted, likely, you’ll already spend thousands of dollars on the following:

  • For the court to release a bond
  • To get your car back
  • Towing charges
  • Down payment for lawyer services

Restrictions on driving privileges

In most states, individuals convicted of most DUI-type offenses will face ramifications on their driving privileges. For instance, in some states, an individual who refuses to take a BAC test will have their driver’s license suspended automatically. The length of time of the suspension can vary from one state to another. However, the typical range is from three to twelve months.

Might need to pay more for car insurance

If you have a DUI offense on your record, you are more likely to pay higher premiums for car insurance. Sadly, there is no way around this. It is also possible for insurance companies to drop you, and you will have to seek out insurance companies that will accept you.

Expect to be placed on probation

Since a DUI offense is a criminal offense, expect that you will be placed on probation for a period of time following your conviction. Keep in mind that probation will cost money, so expect to incur additional costs.

More fines upon conviction

Once convicted, you will be fined by the court. These fines will often eat up your bond, so you might need to pay additional money. It would be wise to arrange that you are put on a payment program as the fines can be extensive.

What happens when you get charged with driving impaired or driving drunk at this time? 

Now more than ever, it would be a great idea to work with a good and seasoned lawyer. While it is likely that you will be facing the same charges, there are strains and limitations placed on the legal system right now due to the pandemic. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the courts may also offer limited hours and services. It is also highly likely that you will encounter delays and changes to the standard business operations and temporary orders to cease in-person conferences and appearances. 

A good lawyer can help ensure you will get the hearings, counsel, and legal measures that are your due. Currently, until the foreseeable future, you might need to make do with meeting your attorney virtually, through videoconferencing or meetings over the phone. 

However, it is possible to arrange in-person meetings if truly called for. Consider it best to check with your lawyer regarding your needs and how to proceed during this time.

The Bottom Line

A DUI or any related offense can be inconvenient, embarrassing, and downright expensive. Not only that, but the records and ramifications associated with it can also last for many years. The only foolproof way to avoid getting a DUI is not to drive while under the influence.

What First-Time Offenders Can Expect From DUI Treatment

So you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI for the first time, and being in that situation can be daunting. After all, DUI is a serious offense in all states, and it carries severe penalties as well.

Should you get convicted of a DUI, you can expect to deal with consequences such as jail time, driver’s license revocation, and payment of steep fines.

However, there is a chance the judge presiding over your case would allow you to enter into a suspended sentencing arrangement and order you to undergo a DUI treatment program instead.

Whether it’s online DUI treatment or otherwise, such a program is designed not only to educate DUI offenders about the consequences of drunk driving but also help them identify an underlying alcohol problem if it exists and get the necessary treatment for it.

If you’re a first-time offender and you have to go through DUI treatment, here are some of the things you can expect.

You Will Undergo DUI Screening

At your initial DUI screening, you will be asked to answer tests that carry questions aiming to establish a drinking problem, if any.

If your answers to the questions point to the existence of alcohol issues, you can expect to be recommended for an alcohol assessment.

You Will Answer More In-depth Questions During Alcohol Assessment

Alcohol assessment can be similar in the sense that it involves answering more questions.

This time, however, the questions are more probing—even personal.

The questions that you will need to answer during your alcohol assessment will touch on things like your relationships with family and friends, your job, and of course, alcohol use.

Through your answers, the mental health professional conducting your alcohol assessment should be able to identify your triggers for drinking and the severity of your alcohol problem. Your alcohol assessment results will also help accurately determine your treatment needs and how long and intense it should be.

Possible Treatment Recommendations

Depending on your alcohol assessment results, you may be asked to enter alcohol abuse treatment programs.

If your alcohol assessment discovers a co-existing mental disorder along with your alcohol problem, you may have to undergo dual diagnosis treatment to address both issues.

Your results may also call for alcohol detoxification, then inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment later.

You may also be asked to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

In most cases, attending alcohol abuse education programs or DUI school is also a requirement to help a first-time DUI offender learn how dangerous drunk driving can be and how to avoid drinking and driving in the future.

Why Completing DUI Treatment Is A Must

When a judge orders you to undergo DUI treatment, you are in no position to refuse or avoid it.

Given that it’s a part of your suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of your probation, refusing or avoiding DUI treatment comes with harsh consequences.

Keep in mind that completing the DUI treatment process is necessary to reinstate your driver’s license. Fail to undergo or finish treatment for DUI, and you won’t find yourself driving legally anytime soon.

Failure to complete DUI treatment is a violation of your probation, something that courts do not look upon kindly. If a judge determines that you did violate the conditions of your probation, don’t be surprised if he or she extends your probation, or worse, make you serve more time in jail and pay much heftier fines.

DUI treatment may not be a walk in the park, but if it gives you the opportunity to reduce or even eliminate your penalties, then it would be in your best interest to take it seriously.

How to Prevent Your Teen From Driving Drunk

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Unfortunately, many teens get access to alcohol at a much earlier age. Let us look at some alarming statistics:

  • A 2017 study revealed almost 61% of teens admitted to binge drinking
  • A research conducted in 2016 showed that 38% of students admitted to binge drinking while in college
  • Teens drink and drive as much as 2.4 million times each month
  • About 10% of teenagers in high school will drink and drive
  • About 85% of teens in high school will binge drink

While courts often mandate an ignition interlock device (IID) for DUI offenders, a growing number of parents embrace interlock installation to ensure their minor loved ones are always sober when behind the wheel.

What is DUI?

Driving under the influence is a legal citation given to someone caught driving under the influence of a mind-altering substance such as alcohol. The ramifications of driving under the influence are grave, and those convicted will face serious legal consequences.

What happens if your teen gets a DUI?

Typically, DUIs are issued when an accident has taken place or during traffic stops. When underage drivers are pulled over, and the police suspect they are driving under the influence,  they will undergo a blood alcohol content (BAC) breath test. If alcohol is detected, they will be taken into custody, and the vehicle will be towed.

Most states have zero-tolerance laws for DUI and will slap hefty penalties on teenagers under 21 years of age who drive with alcohol in their bloodstream. 

What are the legal repercussions of underage DUI?

There are several legal penalties for teens who drive under the influence, including:

  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Loss of driver’s license (mostly for an entire year)
  • Community service
  • Mandatory alcohol education
  • Jail time

What can you do to help ensure your teenagers will not drink and drive?

Set clear rules

A study of over 1,000 teens revealed that those with “hands-on” parents are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving. At all times, be very clear that they are not allowed to drink any alcohol if they plan to drive. Ensure they are aware that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive when under the influence.

Layout all the unpleasant consequences of driving drunk, including jail time, losing their license, being denied college acceptance, or worst, being involved in a fatal car crash. Set rules and expectations clearly and be strict without feeling guilty.

Equip your teens to handle peer pressure

Most teenage drinking occurs because of peer pressure. Sit down with your teens and talk about possible scenarios they’ll encounter that will involve alcohol. Give guidance on what they need to do if they were offered a drink at a party. 

Also, remind them to always turn down rides from friends who have been drinking. Reassure your teens they can always call on you if they need a ride.

Set a good example

Ensure you practice what you preach. Don’t drink excessively, especially when your teenage children are around. Refrain from making jokes about drinking as well so they won’t think alcohol use is glamorous or funny. Avoid implying alcohol can solve any of your problems by saying you need a drink after a long day.

Get to know the people they hang out with

It would be a good idea to help your teens establish friendships with those who don’t drink. If you notice they’re hanging out with friends who are known to use alcohol, limit their time together. Also, implement strict rules on how they’ll spend after school time and the people they’ll spend it with.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your teenagers can still end up driving while under the influence. In line with this, make sure you know what the legal consequences are. Better yet, consider interlock installation for your peace of mind.

Ways Drunk Driving Accidents Affect Victims Physically, Psychologically, and Emotionally

Drunk driving has been a huge problem in the United States for decades.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pegs the number of arrests in 2018 for driving under the influence (DUI) at 1,001,329, a staggering figure by any standard.

In the same year, more than 10,500 people died in drunk driving accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

For all the massive resources used for campaigns against drunk driving over the years, far too many people still get behind the wheel and drive.

Some even get arrested multiple times within a certain period that they end up facing aggravated DUI charges in some states.

Sometimes, one can’t help but think that these drivers don’t realize that the accidents they could cause can take a heavy physical, psychological, and emotional toll on everyone involved, including themselves.

The Physical Impact of Drunk Driving Accidents

People who figure in a drunk driving crash rarely come out of it unscathed. Passengers sustaining minor injuries are common, and they would be the more fortunate ones. Others end up with injuries to the more vulnerable parts of their body, including the:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Legs
  • Knees

Depending on the severity of the crash, a passenger, pedestrian, or the drunk driver himself could survive a car accident but end up incapacitated due to injuries to the above-mentioned areas.

The brain is also prone to serious injury in an alcohol-impaired driving-related crash. Many survivors of a drunk driving crash have lost the ability to talk, walk, or even feed themselves because of a traumatic brain injury, depriving them of a normal life.

Limb loss is also a typical consequence of drunk driving accidents. In some particularly horrific alcohol-related crashes, victims end up with severe burns and live with constant pain for a long time.

Alcohol-related Car Crashes and Their Psychological Toll

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a mental health disorder that’s commonly associated with war veterans and those who have gone through a violent experience. Car crash survivors happen to be vulnerable to PTSD, too.

A drunk driving accident survivor with PTSD are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Flashbacks, a vivid reliving of the crash
  • Nightmares
  • Jumpiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Concentration problems
  • Irritability/Quick to anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the accident
  • Survivor’s guilt, questioning why they survived while others did not

The intensity of the above symptoms can vary over time. Sometimes, even the sound of something crashing to the floor can trigger a flashback. Watching a car crash scene in a movie will likely do the same. Being stressed out, in general, can set off more symptoms as well.

The Emotional Effects of a Drunk Driving Crash

Those who live through a car crash are likely to suffer a lot of grief, especially if they lost someone close to them to a drunk driver. 

While some grieve accordingly, others could take it to the extreme and isolate themselves, shunning friends and family.

It’s also common for car crash survivors to feel a lot of anger, even rage.

Such emotions may become even more intense once they find out that a drunk driver caused the accident that killed or badly hurt their friend or loved one. It’s not unheard of for angry car accident survivors to wish for something violent to happen to that alcohol-impaired driver.

As for drunk drivers themselves, let’s not forget that they are also human. Feelings of guilt may already be eating at them since the accident, even more so if someone ended up paralyzed or dying because of it.

The worst part about the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of drunk driving accidents on survivors is that it may take some time for them to recover, if at all.

Then again, anyone who lived through an alcohol-related car crash should never lose hope. With possible compensation from a personal injury claim and unwavering support from their loved ones, recovery should never be too far off for survivors of a drunk driving crash.