Drink Driving Rehabilitation Courses – What Do Drivers Need to Know?    

Anybody convicted of drink driving will receive an automatic ban from the road for at least 12 months. The disqualification period can also be longer where there are factors such as a high alcohol reading, or if it’s not your first offence. However, it is often possible to cut the length of a ban by taking part in a drink driving rehabilitation course.

If you are charged with drink driving, it is essential to find expert lawyers based in East Anglia who can advise and represent you. Marcus Croskell is a specialist drink drive lawyer representing people across the area, including those in Woodbridge, Ipswich and across Suffolk. He can advise you on all aspects of your case and encourage the court to offer you the chance to take a place on a course, which could reduce your ban by up to 25%.

Aims of Drink Driving Rehabilitation Courses

The Government decided to introduce the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (“DDRS") in the 1990s, with the aims of changing driver behaviour and reducing levels of reoffending. There is evidence the courses can help to achieve these goals.

Initially, pilot schemes were launched in 1993 and the scheme then became a permanent initiative nationwide in 1999. Since its launch, improvements have been made to the scheme to raise quality standards and make courses more effective and consistent.

Approved courses are run by various different providers and the exact format can vary, but the main content will be the same. A course usually lasts 16 hours, spread over 3 days, a week apart, with a number of drink-drivers attending.

The syllabus covers different areas, looking both at the effects of alcohol on driving and the consequences of drink driving, including the impact on the driver and others. Courses also look at what situations could provide triggers for drink driving and strategies for overcoming these and changing behaviour.

Getting a Place on a Course

You can’t book a place on a DDRS course yourself, because drivers need to be referred by the court. If you are offered a place you will be asked in court whether you agree to take the course, and will have to make a decision on the spot, with no option to change your mind later. This means it is important to think about the issue in advance.

It is helpful to do your research first, by visiting the Government website about the scheme to find out what courses are available locally and decide which one you would prefer to take part in. Then, if the court offers you the chance to take a suitable course you will know which one to suggest.

The court will ask you to choose a course and you will then need to fill in a court referral form, which will be sent to the course provider. There can be a fee of up to £250. It is possible to change to another provider before booking on to the course, but you would have to get your original provider to send the referral form on to the new provider.

What Are the Advantages of a Course?

The main incentive for motorists to take a course is the fact that successful completion can lead to their ban being reduced. There is a maximum possible reduction of 25% for a 12-month ban. With a longer ban, however, the maximum reduction will still be 3 months. After attending all sessions and completing the course successfully, you will be awarded a certificate which is sent to the court. The DVLA will then be informed, so that your ban can be reduced.

Another advantage is that the courses are recognised by insurance companies. This means that the fact you have completed a course and received a certificate may help you to avoid having to pay very high insurance premiums following a conviction.

Drink-driving is a serious charge, so if you are facing a court appearance charged with this offence it is important to have representation from a drink drive lawyer. If you are looking for barristers in East Anglia, Marcus Croskell specialises in motoring law and can make sure your case is properly presented.

As well as defending motorists who are pleading not guilty, he can also present any mitigation for those pleading guilty and argue whether there are any special reasons why a ban and fine should be kept low. Marcus Croskell regularly appears in courts in areas including Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk, as well as London courts. For an initial free enquiry click here, or alternatively you can call 0843 886 2603.