If you have been convicted of a DUI, you may have learned that you are required to participate in a VASAP program. This program is geared toward those who have been charged with offenses that relate to the consumption of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, and is considered a form of rehabilitation. In order to make the proper plans to complete your VASAP requirements, it is important to understand what the program is, how it works, how much it costs and what to expect.
What Is the VASAP Program?
The VASAP is Virginia’s Alcohol and Safety Program. It is sometimes called a substance abuse education program or a DUI school, and it helps people to understand the dangers of alcohol consumption while driving.
VASAP is meant to equip people with the skills and strategies to avoid drinking and driving, and to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol while understanding how their choices can impact the lives and safety of others. VASAP is often required in order to acquire probation or in the pursuit of regaining driving privileges after a conviction of driving while under the influence.
It is important to note that if the individual tests positive for alcohol or drugs while they are participating in the program, the court may be notified that they are not complying with their court order, and further consequences or penalties could result.
What Happens During VASAP?
The VASAP program is generally 10 weeks long and begins with an information collection stage that determines whether the individual has an issue with consistent substance abuse. If so, they may be referred for specific treatment. The 10-week program contains education elements which are in addition to any other requirements imposed by the court, such as the potential aforementioned addiction treatment or supervision monitoring.
The 20-hour education program teaches individuals about substance abuse and how the use of substances, including alcohol, can have an important impact on their behavior and health.
VASAP also includes specific programs which focus on unique niches of convicted individuals, such as young offenders, habitual offenders and those who have undergone addiction treatment but have relapsed.
How Much Does It Cost?
The person convicted of the DUI is typically responsible for all of the fees and costs associated with VASAP. Generally, the program costs approximately $300, and an additional $100 should be budgeted for supplies. However, if the individual can prove to the court that this financial burden would be troublesome, they may be able to have the costs lowered, or participate in a payment plan.
Be aware that even if you complete the education and treatment portions of the VASAP system, your VASAP treatment requirement is not considered fulfilled until you have fully paid any outstanding bills or fees associated with the program.
A VASAP group may not exist in your specific zip code, but VASAP is widely available across Virginia. The Virginia state website can provide a map that helps match you with the facility closest to you.
Can You Avoid VASAP By Pleading Guilty?
Some people believe that pleading guilty or using the assistance of a legal professional to convert the DUI charge to one of reckless driving will prevent them from needing to participate in VASAP. However, even DUI charges amended to reckless driving may come with a VASAP requirement, as determined by the court.
It is important to understand that completing VASAP and agreeing to other potential conditions, such as having an ignition interlock device installed in your car, could result in you re-obtaining your driver’s license or securing a restricted license faster than you may have otherwise. VASAP is a valuable tool to cultivate healthy coping strategies and behaviors, and it can get you back to driving as soon as possible.
Your attorney may even be able to negotiate your participation in VASAP as a condition of a guilty plea to reduce your overall consequences.
VASAP Can Get You Back on the Road Sooner; Speak With An Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI or reckless driving, and are trying to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to your requirement to participate in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, an attorney experienced with DUI charges and traffic law can help you to create a strategy for your best outcome.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to explain what comes next and help you work with the courts to create a VASAP plan that works for you, such as petitioning for a payment plan to cover the fees. Contact an attorney to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.