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California Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

In addition to having to pay fines, receiving license suspensions, and perhaps being sentenced to jail, California drunk drivers often have to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as part of their drunk-driving sentencing requirements.  California DUI Courts have determined that by requiring those convicted of  CA driving under the influence (DUI) to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the underlying problems that may have caused the California drunk driving to occur may be eliminated.  Today, both California DUI Criminal Courts and prosecutors accept the attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings as sentencing alternatives in lieu of jail time for convicted DUI offenders.

California DUI attorneyswill often prevail upon not only the courts, but also the  California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to allow the attendance at AA as a viable alternative to jail, fines, and/or license suspension.  In accepting the attendance at AA meetings as a sentencing alternative and/or as part of the conditions of probation, courts will determine how many  AA meetings the DUI offender has to attend during a specific amount of time.  California DUI offenders are given a “court card” that they must take to the AA meetings with them and have signed by the meeting secretary.  If the  California Drunk Driving offender fails to attend the required number of meetings during the time allotted, then he or she is in violation of probation, and most likely will be sent to jail.  In cases where the AA meeting attendance is required by the DMV and the DUI offender fails to attend the required number of meetings, then his or her license will automatically be suspended. 

Alcoholics Anonymous describes itself as “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”  AA meetings are held nearly every day in just about every community throughout California.  There is no cost associated with attending the meetings and DUI offenders and/or their California DUI attorneys can locate a convenient AA meeting place by simply looking up the AA Central Office in any phone directory or by visiting  http://www.aa.org/.

Attendance at AA meetings is a good sentencing alternative to losing one’s driving privileges and/or being sent to jail.  California DUI lawyers should always review this sentencing alternative to determine if it is the best one to use for their clients. 

MADD Victim Impact Programs

Those convicted of a California DUI face an array of consequences, including license suspensions, fines, and jail sentences.  California DUI Courts now recognize that in order to  best serve the community, underlying alcohol problems need to be addressed.  They are doing this by utilizing sentencing alternatives in lieu of jail time, such as requiring California DUI offenders to participate in programs such as the  Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Victim Impact program.

The MADD Victim Impact Programs sentencing alternative as well as some others are more specifically designed to help rather than punish California DUI offenders.  As a condition of probation, attendance in such a program helps DUI offenders avoid jail time.  If a  California driver convicted of a DUI fails to participate in the program as ordered by the courts, then they will be in violation of probation and most likely be sent to jail.

About MADD Victim Impact Programs

The MADD Victim Impact program entails having CA DUI offenders attend regular scheduled meetings where it is discussed how, because of drunk drivers, the lives of others have been greatly affected.  DUI offenders listen to how someone’s choice of drinking and driving greatly impacted the lives of the survivors.  It is the goal of MADD and the courts to help DUI offenders understand the grave affects caused by drinking and driving from a victim’s perspective.    

These programs are generally designed as panel discussions that feature three or more MADD members that discuss their own personal stories.  When time permits, convicted California Drunk Driving offenders may sometimes share their own stories.  A police officer will often moderate the panel discussions.  It should be noted that studies suggest that drunk-driving recidivism rates tend to be lower among those DUI offenders who have attended such Victim Impact programs.     

The MADD Victim Impact Program sentencing alternative is often a suitable alternative to jail for convicted DUI offenders.  California DUI attorneys should review their DUI cases to determine whether or not this sentencing alternative is available to their DUI clients.  

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