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AB541 – DUI School for First Time DUI

Courts and DMVs usually require a person convicted of a DUI to enroll in a drug and alcohol education program. AB541 is the program that is usually required for first time DUI offenders. The minimum length of the program is ninety (90) days or three (3) months.[1] Persons required to take this program have to attend in-person sessions or classes to be able to complete the curriculum. They should also remain sober for the duration of the program.

Who is required to take this program?

First time DUI offenders with a BAC of less than 0.20%[2] are required to complete AB541. Second-time offenders will be required to take a different program under SB38, which lasts for eighteen (18) months. A person required to take the program must enroll with a licensed program provider within twenty-one (21) days from release. You may only enroll with a licensed program provider that is accepted by your court and DMV. Otherwise, the court and DMV will not recognize your completion of the program.

What should be included in the program?

Title 9 of the California Health and Safety Code sets the minimum requirements for this type of program[3] which generally consists of 30 hours of program activities, including those education, group counseling, and individual interview sessions.[4] The respective county’s Health Department However, each county may implement additional requirements within their jurisdiction, such as additional hours of group counseling sessions, etc.[5]

  • Intake/case management interview (Enrollment)
  • 2 case management sessions
  • 10 alcohol/drug awareness education classes (15 hours)
  • 10 group counseling sessions (15 hours)
  • Additional requirements set by respective counties

What are the effects of non-completion of the program?

The law requires you to show proof to the court and DMV that you have completed the program.[6] You must be able to obtain a duly issued certificate of completion by your licensed program provider.

Completion of the program is one of the main conditions of a probation sentence for DUIs.[7] If you are unable to complete the program for the required period, you will be violating your probation.

You are allowed to have absences but it cannot be more than five (5). If you exceed 5 absences, you will be dropped from the program.[8] Also, a DUI school can drop a person from the program if they exhibit the following:[9]

  • disruptive to the class
  • sleeps during class
  • the instructor believes the person poses a threat to the instructor or other participants

As mentioned earlier, you must also be sober while attending the program. If you are caught being under the influence, you may be required to take a breathalyzer test and you can be dropped from the program.

No Judgment, Only Professionalism

If you have been accused or charged with the commission of VC 23153 or DUI causing injury, it is all-important to hire an experienced, aggressive, and seasoned private West Covina defense lawyer to fight your case. We always make our clients feel right at home and we encourage you to take comfort in the fact that you have a dedicated advocate on your side at Coimbra Law Firm, APC. Our highly-experienced lawyers at Coimbra Law Firm, APC will help ensure that your Constitutional rights are protected. Each of our clients will receive personalized attention, complete discretion, and trained staff working to provide the best legal assistance available. Our only job is to defend you with the maximum competence, diligence, and zealousness. Do not hesitate to contact us and call (626) 827-7222 for the representation you need.


[1] Vehicle Code Section 23538 (b) (1)

[2] California Health and Safety Code 11837 (c) (1)

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] California Health and Safety Code 11837.3

[6] Supra 1 Section 28538 (b) (1)

[7] Supra 1 Section 28538 (b)

[8] 9 California Code of Regulations 9874 (c)

[9] 9 California Code of Regulations 9874

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