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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2011
A police officer inspecting a person sitting in a car - Leckerman Law, LLC

Pennsylvania is using a highway safety class as one of the means of explaining to people convicted for drunk driving the severity of their actions. These classes are held at various places all over the state in order to be accessible to everyone. Each location must be approved by the local county in order to offer these classes to defendants.

Nature Of The Classes

The class is similar to a structured class held in middle and high school. There is a curriculum that must be followed. The class aims to inform students of the dangers of driving after consuming alcohol or drugs. Defendants are taught ways to modify their behaviors in order to prevent drunken driving in the future. This class is offered to people who have been arrested for their first or second DUI offense. The class is also a requirement for people completing the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.

Goals Of The Class

The mission statement of the class is straight forward. By successfully completing the class, defendants:

  • Will learn the horrible results that can occur due to excessive drinking and driving
  • Learn new behaviors that can help prevent overindulging in the future
  • Provide a general overview of the typical progression of a person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs

Costs And Duration

The cost of the class can be over $200 and must be paid by the defendant. Many locations offer a split class. The total time that must be completed through the course is a minimum of 12.5 hours. Some offices hold these classes on Saturdays in order to accommodate the schedules of people with full time work. There are several locations, which offer classes in several languages such as English, Spanish, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Korean.

Deadline For Class Completion

Defendants must complete their highway safety classes within 30 days of the initial registration. This is important to remember in regard to regaining a driver’s license. People that have lost their driver’s license due to the DUI arrest must complete every requirement set out by the court before their licenses will be returned. Failure to meet just one requirement could result in additional penalties, fines or imprisonment.

Online Alternative

Several DUI attorneys have been successful in lobbying for an online version of the alcohol safety class. These classes are offered as a more flexible option to help meet the various schedule demands on a wide range of people. Many people, if eligible, prefer to take this course since it provides much more privacy compared to the open classroom structure of the typical safety class.

The online class can be completed by the same group of people that are eligible for the classroom course. This version meets all of the requirements established in the curriculum by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

People that opt for the online class will still have to complete 12.5 hours of coursework in order to satisfy the requirements to receive a certificate of completion. However, unlike the classroom course that is set at 4, 5 or 6 hour intervals the online version gives people a chance to work according to their individual pace. The system has incorporated a verification process to ensure that the correct student is online completing the class.

The online class costs $225.00 compared to the $150.00 price of the traditional course. The fee covers all material which is available via the internet once payment has been processed. The fee also covers the cost to forward a copy of the certificate to the local DUI coordinator.

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