Coronavirus Effects on Criminal Justice


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Coronavirus Effects on Criminal Justice


Coronavirus update March 19, 2020: DUI CLASSES CLOSED

This is a potential problem - actually a real problem - for those charged with DUI who would like to settle their case (this means pleading guilty/no contest), show remorse, and simply move on. For many, this seems like the right thing to do under the circumstances. This applies to everyone facing DUI charges, those with lawyers, those without. Those who want to say uncle, and those who fought it until the bitter end with money, power, and righteousness and did not prevail.

The DUI schools are CLOSED. When will they open? Who knows. When one pleads guilty to a DUI charge (or is found guilty by a jury), the judge orders that they enroll and complete DUI classes. Every time, by law. So, the DUI classes are closed. No problem, right? One can do them later? Not if you need to drive.

When one is found guilty of a DUI, the court notifies DMV. DMV - when notified, which can be immediate or long after, you have no control over that - automatically suspends your license. In the letter informing you of this, they will notify you that you are immediately entitled to a license to drive anywhere you’d like, as long as you have an IID (breathalyzer in your car to start it) and some other things such as an SR-22 (proof of insurance) and proof of enrollment in a DUI class. Seems doable.

What if you can’t get enrolled in a DUI class because the schools are being responsible and staying closed? Surely DMV would understand, right? They know (or you’d tell them) that you are a normally responsible driver who simply needs to drive out of necessity, and they would agree and allow you to drive because to do otherwise would cause harm to you, your family, and folks you help? And surely they couldn’t prevent you from driving in these times when the DUI classes are closed? That you would lose your job without a license?

That’s not the DMV way. They check boxes. If the DUI enrollment class box is not checked, you get zero licenses. As things stand, you get a DUI in court you lose your license. Until the DUI classes open again. Zero sympathies, zero licenses, and zero jobs if you need to drive to from, or during the course of that job (or, for many, those jobs).

Those that got into the classes before we realized we should shut them down are fine. Those that have not yet settled their cases are fine (*unless you did not request a DMV hearing within 10 days of arrest, see other posts on this). Those caught in the middle, who just want to “do the right thing” and resolve their case? If you need to drive, this may not be the way to go. Seems wrong, no? That’s the way it currently is.

That is how things sit as of March 20, 2019. I’ll update as information comes in - one thing for sure, there will be ongoing changes. Hopefully this DUI class issue will be worked out soon.

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