How to sign up for your DUI class and court-ordered programs.

If you have a conviction for a DUI in San Diego County, the court likely ordered you to complete various programs and abide by specific terms of probation. It is wise to complete these programs as soon as possible.

Sometimes understanding what you have been ordered to do and when it is due can be confusing! This is especially true if the DUI court paperwork you are struggling to understand looks like this:

The first step toward completing your DUI probation terms is finding and enrolling in the appropriate programs. Many people find themselves overwhelmed with the list of requirements the court orders and confused by the court paperwork. This post will help you understand your court paperwork and figure out which DUI program to sign up for and how to do so. 
Remember, early completion of the terms of probation affords you a buffer in the case of an unexpected delay and decreases the likelihood of a probation violation. Successful and swift completion of probation also gives the court a good reason to grant your request to end probation early!
This post will give you quick access to the DUI programs and DUI probation requirements the court requires you to complete. These programs likely include the following:
1) DUI Program (First Conviction or Multiple Conviction Program);
2) Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD);
3) Public Work Service through San Diego Probation; and
4) Court Fine Payment.
You may have additional terms of probation, but these are the most common requirements the court will expect you to complete.

1) DUI Program:

The San Diego DUI program will require either paperwork from the court OR paperwork from the DMV to start your enrollment process. If you wish to start your DUI program before your court case has resolved, you must bring the DMV paperwork to the program in order to enroll. If you have already been ordered by the court to complete the DMV program, bring the court referral paperwork with you to the program.  If you are not sure which paperwork to bring, it is wise to call the program ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need!
When locating your court referral paperwork, search for the paper with this heading:
Your court referral paperwork may refer you to one or more of the following classes:
When locating your DMV referral paperwork, search for the paper with this heading:
The DMV paperwork may be several pages. Make sure you bring all of the pages with you to the program, especially including the paragraph that looks like this:
Be sure to sign up for the correct DUI class as these programs offer a 3-month, 9-month, and an 18-month long class. There are four DUI programs in San Diego County:

(These DUI programs may also be found on the San Diego Superior Court website.)

Your court paperwork will tell you which program you must attend. You can find it on the referral paperwork shown above or on your court sentencing docket:

If you are wondering which San Diego DUI program location you should attend, choose the one that is the most convenient for you! You can ask to be referred to the program closest to where you live. If you live out of San Diego County, you may also request that the court authorize a program in a different part of the state. If you do not live in California, talk to your attorney about your other available options.

2) Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD):

The court will likely order you to complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel as a term of DUI probation.

You can find and register for the next San Diego panel at the MADD website. Again, choose the location that works with your schedule. The online registration will look like this:

The MADD panels are offered in English and Spanish, so make sure you have made the right selection for you. To register, have both your case number and driver’s license number handy and be prepared to pay the $30 fee for the program. The MADD program has rules regarding registration, reservations, and attendance that you should be familiar with before your scheduled panel.

3) Public Work Service through San Diego Probation

It is common for individuals on DUI probation to be ordered to complete public work service. The San Diego Probation Department runs Public Work Service or Work Project. The Work Projects program is an alternative sentencing option wherein participants perform manual labor as a sanction for an offense. You can expect to be working 8-hour days assisting with litter cleanup, weed abatement, firebreaks, maintaining and improving landscapes, or possibly digging and clearing flood control trenches/ditches and erosion control. 

 Many individuals struggle with completing their public work service for one reason or another. One problem individuals have begins at the very beginning- signing up for public work.
To enroll in Public Work Service, go to the probation office. Have your court docket/court paperwork with you as well as your picture I.D. You will have to pay an enrollment fee of $59.00. Some courthouses do not accept cash. None of them accept personal checks. A credit card may be your best bet.
Some individuals get turned away on their first day if they are not prepared. Have the right clothing and footwear for a day of labor. Make sure you bring with you your Identification card and your court docket.
If you are worried you may be too frail or injured to complete Public Work Service, it is best to let your attorney know right away so that you can request an alternative such as volunteer work. Remember, however, that the court will require a letter from your doctor confirming your medical condition.

4) Paying Court Fines

The court will tell you what your total fine is at sentencing. Your fine may be reduced with credit for days you spent in jail or you may be able to have half of your fine converted to volunteer work or public work service. (If you have a job, however, make sure you do the math to calculate which is a more lucrative use of your time!)
Either the court will authorize a monthly payment plan at the sentencing hearing or you can request one at the business office. If you wish to pay your fine online, you can go to the San Diego Superior Court website to do so.  Otherwise, you can bring or send your payments to the appropriate courthouse cashier.
It is important to pay your DUI fines in a timely manner, as failure to do so will result in a civil assessment (usually an additional $300 added to the fine) and a referral to a collections agency. If you need additional time to pay your fines, try to ask for an extension before your payments are delinquent.

5) Additional POSSIBLE Requirements

AA or SMART Meetings

The court may order you to complete AA or SMART meetings instead of attending a MADD victim impact panel, as a condition of setting a lower bail amount, or as an additional term of DUI probation. To locate a meeting, go to the AA website or the SMART website. You can bring this self-help attendance sheet with you for a representative to sign as proof for the court.

Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment Programs

Depending on your case or your criminal history, you may be asked to sign up for a treatment program. There are various in-patient, out-patient, and sober living facilities in San Diego County to choose from. If you are seeking treatment, work to find the right fit for you so that you can stick with the program all the way through!

SCRAM Alcohol Monitoring Devices

The court may order you to sign up for an alcohol monitoring device while your case is pending or while you are on DUI probation. This device can monitor you in a few different ways, but most commonly it is an ankle monitor for continuous observation. You can contact your local provider by going to the  SCRAM website. Make sure you have your court case number handy. You will have to physically meet with a provider so be sure to give yourself enough time to get things in order!

Other Programs

Given the specific details of each case, you may be required to sign up for additional programs. If you have questions about your probation terms, contact an attorney.

Get your probation done early and on time- or ask for an extension!

Some people live by the proverb, “It is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” While that may be true for other areas of your life, it is not the ethos to have when your freedom is at stake!
If you need additional time to complete a term of your San Diego DUI probation, judges are often impressed by your initiative if you ask for an extension before your due date has passed. While scheduling a time to ask the court for an extension may be an inconvenience, it is much faster than the alternative of a probation violation!  If you lapse on your terms of probation, the court may issue a warrant. If you are picked up on a warrant, you may be wasting days in jail waiting to see a judge!
Hopefully this post gave you guidance on how to sign up for your programs. If you have additional questions, contact your attorney or our office.