Placement on rehabilitation courses is often used as an alternative or an addition to traditional punishments for drink-driving offences. This option has been available to courts in England, Scotland and Wales since January 2000. Completion of rehabilitation courses can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Upon completion of a government approved course, you are entitled to have the length of your disqualification period reduced. The reduction normally consists of up to a quarter of your initial ban. If you have been disqualified from driving for a period of one year, completion of the course will entitle you to a three month reduction. However, if you have been disqualified from driving for over a year, the length of the reduction is at the discretion of the court.
Rehabilitation courses are not mandatory. The magistrate will only refer you to a local rehabilitation course if they believe that you are likely to benefit from completing the course. If you are referred to a course, the decision of whether you want to complete the course is entirely yours. Should you decide to accept the referral, you will have to pay an up-front fee to complete the course. This fee is in addition to any fines which the court issued in relation to your charge. Aside from assessing whether the course would be beneficial, the Magistrate will also only refer you to the course if you are 17 or over and you understand the nature of the course (the fees which have to be paid and the purpose of the course). In addition, you will only be referred to a local course if there are sufficient spaces.
The court will try to provide you with all the information you will need to begin and complete the course. Due to the variety of respective course providers, the exact nature of each course differs from region to region. Nonetheless, general observations can be made. Courses usually range from 16-30 hours in length; they are split into a number of sessions. There can be anywhere from 8-20 people participating in each course.
The rehabilitation courses are not designed to be an extra punishment, they are there to fulfil an educational role. The courses are designed to teach people about the dangers of alcohol and the dangers of drink-driving. In this respect, they are supposed to rehabilitate offenders and prevent people from making the same mistake twice. Although the content of each course will vary according to the course provider, the general themes will be similar. Issues covered will include the scientific effects of alcohol on the body and the ways in which alcohol impairs driving ability. Typically, courses will consist of presentations, discussions, role plays and personal assessments.
In order to be deemed to have successfully completed the course, you must have attended the sessions regularly, paid all the fees in advance and complied with the course leaders. Upon completion, you will be given a certificate which is to be presented as proof to the court. Subsequently, the court will inform the DVLA of the reduction in your disqualification from driving. It is important to note that the DVLA can only apply such a reduction if they are informed of the completion of the course prior to two months before the end of the reduced period.
It is possible that you may be issued with a Notice of Non-Completion. This will happen when the course organiser refuses to recognise that you have completed the course. There are a number of reasons why this could happen. For example, if you do not attend enough sessions or do not comply with the requests of the course organiser, it is likely that you will be issued with the non-completion notice. It is possible to make an appeal to the court against such decisions. If the court feels that your appeal is reasonable, the ultimate right to grant you a certificate of completion is with the court.
Middlesbrough and the North East - The Albert Centre
South East and Norfolk - DriveWise
Hertfordshire - HAPAS
Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire - Reform
National (England and Scotland) - VMCL
Midlands, Wales and the North - TTC2000
South East/Home Counties - Drink Driver Education
Thanks for contacting Access Solicitor. We'll get back to your enquiry as soon as possible, and during normal business hours this should be within the next 30 minutes. We look forward to helping you find the legal advice you need.
Access Solicitor Customer Care