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Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

4. DUI Program Classes

What is DUI Class?

Solano DUI Program locationIf you are convicted of a DUI in Solano County or anywhere else in California, you will likely be ordered to complete a California-licensed drinking driver DUI Program ("DDP"), now simply called the "DUI Program." The best Solano County DUI attorneys will explain to you that the DUI program is a series of once-per-week, two to three-hour classes consisting of an "Education Curriculum" with videos, lectures and group discussions including resource materials on DUI law, court requirements, substance abuse and problem drinking. Extended programs for higher alcohol levels or multiple DUI convictions include additional individual and group counseling as well as community re-entry activities.

Classes are typically held morning, afternoon and evening most days of the week (see sample DUI class schedules below); you may pick the day of the week and the time of day, and attend that same class weekly until completion. The court is required to order DUI program enrollment and completion in nearly all DUI cases (see "Court Probation" in Tip #6 in Solano County DUI Lawyer: Easing the Consequences of a DUI). Your Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyer should tell you that timely enrollment (typically within 21 days of a DUI conviction) and completion is required by the court in order to avoid an arrest warrant for failure to comply with sentencing orders after a case is over, and also required separately by DMV in order to regain driving privileges at the earliest opportunity.

Usually DDPs have a waiting list to enroll, so if you wait too long then your required suspension period will be longer than necessary. If you are arrested for driving on a suspended license due to a DUI, typically the penalty risk is severe and expensive including a 10-day minimum jail sentence and loss of restricted work or hardship driving privileges.

Online DUI Program Classes


Before the 2020 COVID pandemic, online classes were generally unavailable to California residents. An awesome Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyer like Jake was able to obtain a rare online DUI program allowance from the court for certain kinds of cases or clients in certain situations (see, principally, "Non-California Residents" at the end of this discussion), but the California DMV did not recognize online DUI program enrollment or completion for purposes of reissuing a driver license following a DMV suspension due to a DUI conviction, and since most people prioritize getting their license back, the online program was not an option in most cases.


However, since the closing of DUI programs and the first re-openings following the onset of the 2020 COVID pandemic, a number of specifically licensed online DUI programs have been approved by the California DMV. Be sure to confirm a DUI program is licensed by the state of California and approved by the California DMV to provide DUI license suspension relief upon enrollment and completion, or else a license suspension might not be lifted. Click here for a partial list of known and Local Licensed Online DUI Programs (rev. 7/2020), and here for a listing of all California Licensed DUI Programs.

Ability to Pay Program Fees

Solano County DUI attorneys know that DUI programs are notorious for failing to offer financial needs assessments even though they are required to do so.

Client comment: I told them I couldn't afford the $550 fee, and the lady said "you are required to pay this down payment of $200, and just let us know if you think you'll be late on the rest; we can work something out."

Client comment: I told them what you said about a sliding scale, but the counselor told me there is no such program unless I'm pregnant.

You cannot be denied participation in a DUI program just because you can't pay. This is so because completion of the DUI program is required by the court to comply with its orders, and by DMV to re-obtain your driver license, and it wouldn't be fair if such requirements could only be satisfied by those who can afford it. Programs are required to post a notice at each location at which program services are provided, in a location visible to all participants and to the general public, informing them of the option to request a financial assessment to determine ability to pay.

The specific government regulation covering this area is contained in 9 CCR 9879, which states that "The program shall not deny services to a participant if, based on the results of a financial assessment, the program determines that the participant is unable to pay..." Note that there is a minimum fee of $5 per month, and the program may charge you regular fees up to the time that you asked for the assessment (assuming they are complying with these rules).

If you have asked for a financial assessment, and provided the required proof of income/inability to pay, and you feel that the review by your program was not fair or adequate, then you may request a review by the department that regulates these programs: "A participant may request the Department to review a financial assessment conducted by the program, in accordance with this regulation. To do so, the participant shall submit a written request to the Driving-Under-the-Influence Program Branch, Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, 1700 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814."

Program Lengths

First Offenders Six-Week Wet Reckless Program (SB 1176): 12 hour Education Program. Note that this program does not qualify most drivers for early restricted license privileges (See Veh. Code Sections 13353.7, 23538(b)) unless, per Veh. Code Section 13353.2(e), your Solano DUI attorney also wins the separate DMV administrative hearing (Veh. Code Section 23103.5(e)).

First Offenders Three-Month DUI Program (AB 541): 30 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. This is the most common DUI program ordered for first offense Solano County DUI convictions (Veh. Code Section 23538(b)(1), H&S Code Section 11837(c)(1)).

First Offenders Extended Six-Month DUI Program (AB 762): 45 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. Many counties require this intermediate extended first offense DUI program for cases where alcohol levels were alleged at or above 0.15% (Veh. Code Section 23578).

First Offenders (and Multiple Offense Wet Reckless Offenders) Extended Nine-Month DUI Program (AB 1353): 60 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. This program is typically ordered for first offense refusal cases (refused to give chemical sample at time of arrest), or first offense cases where alcohol levels were alleged at or above 0.20%, and for DUI cases with prior offenses alleged where the new case resolves as a "Wet Reckless" (Veh. Code Section 23538(b)(2), 23103.5(f)(1), H&S Code Section 11837(c)(2)).

Multiple Offenders 18-Month DUI Program (SB 38): 78 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. The Group Counseling component of the program combines 52 hours of weekly group process sessions with individual interviews every other week. The final six-month phase of the program consists of the Community Re-entry component with one-hour group sessions once per month and four hours per month of community re-entry activity. This is the most common DUI program ordered for multiple offense Solano County DUI convictions (in other words, new DUI case with prior DUI conviction(s) within 10 years of new arrest--10 year period measured from arrest date of old case to arrest date of new case). (Veh. Code Section 23542(b)(1)).

Multiple Offenders 30-Month DUI Program (SB 1365): 30-months of Education Program and Group Counseling. This program is offered in very few counties (not Solano County or any other North Bay county) and may be a significant alternative to increased jail time in certain multiple offense DUI cases (Veh. Code Section 23548(b)).

Client Comment: Jake, at enrollment they told me to sign up for the 9-month class because my alcohol levels were above .20%, and the DMV might not give me back my license after 30 days if I don't sign up for the longer class required by DMV, but after sentencing you told me to sign up for the shorter class. What should I do? Jake's Reply: DUI program "counselors" often believe that it's up to the DMV which class you take, but the law authorizes the Court to make the decision which class is required for first offenders, not the DMV. In your case I was able to get the high blood alcohol allegation dismissed and the shorter class ordered, so even though your counselor says it would be safer to take the longer (more expensive) class, he is absolutely wrong in your case. Following his advice would have landed nearly twice as much money for the DUI program, and cost you three times the number of classes, so I'm glad you checked with your Solano County DUI lawyer before following his directions.

Program Locations

The best Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyers understand that timing is critical to getting your driving privileges back. Be sure you are eligible for your license to be returned on the first possible day. Typically, the best way to do this is sign up for the DUI program classes once a court or DMV-generated suspension begins. In Solano County, there are two DUI program providers (as of November, 2020), A.K. Bean, located at 2100 Sacramento St, Vallejo, CA 94590 and 623 Great Jones St, Fairfield, CA 94533, and Bi-Bett, located at 604 Broadway St, Vallejo, CA 94590. Click here for a list of these and other Online Solano DUI Programs


Click here for Napa DUI Program information, or here for Marin DUI Program information, or here for Sonoma DUI Program information, or here for Mendocino DUI Program information. Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties each have only one DDP. Solano and Mendocino have more. Usually DUI programs have a waiting list to enroll, so if you wait too long, then you might suffer an unncessary suspension period, or it may be unnecessarily longer than required. You can find early contact information on this site for Solano, Napa, Marin Sonoma and Mendocino, and other counties by clicking on our Solano DUI Lawyer DDP Resources and choosing any of the drinking driver DUI Program links. Solano, Napa, Marin, Sonoma Mendocino and all the state-licensed drinking driver DUI programs are listed.

Solano DUI Program Bi-Bett Vallejo Office:

Solano DUI Program Location

Solano DUI Program A.K. Bean Fairfield Vallejo Office:

Solano DUI Program Location

Enroll In Your Own County Of Residence

If you live or work in a county other than Solano, talk to your lawyer or the DDP program about transferring to the most convenient program, such as Ukiah, Napa, San Rafael, Vallejo, or one of many programs in San Francisco. Typically every county has at least one licensed program, and many counties have more than one program.

You can find early contact information on this site by clicking on Resources and then under "DUI Compliance" click on one of the DUI Program links. Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Marin and all the state-licensed DDPs are listed.

The Restricted License

As discussed in Tips #1 and #2 above, if you had a valid California license prior to this Solano County incident, and you are age 21 or older, and you have never been arrested or suspended for an alcohol- related driving incident before, and there is no allegation that you refused to give a breath or blood sample at the time of Solano County arrest, then in most cases you may obtain a restricted IID breath machine license immediately, or a "work" license (allows driving to, from, and in the course of employment, and to and from the DUI program classes) in a misdemeanor DUI case after the first 30 days of the DMV suspension, once Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DDP has confirmed with Sacramento DMV (by transmitting a Form DL 107) that you are already enrolled in DDP classes and once you have an SR-22 insurance document (see "Insurance" in Tip #3 above) on file with the DMV, an IID breath machine installed for an IID license, and pay the reinstatement fee at a DMV field office. Once you complete the DUI program, the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DDP will confirm completion with Sacramento DMV (by transmitting a Form DL 101), and assuming a valid SR22 and no other stops or suspension issues, a full unrestricted license is the final resolution.

Beware Driver License Stings: Do Not Drive to the DUI Program if You Don't Have a License

Any good Solano DUI attorney will tell you not to drive if you don't have a driver license. But Solano County law enforcement actually have funding to perform license stings on persons attending the DUI program classes discussed here.

Client comment: "The police did a sting after class last week and arrested anyone coming out of class who was driving on a suspended license and didn't have their restricted license. Maybe something you want to pass on to people. I would never drive to the class without first having the restricted license but I guess they arrested about 7 people."

Be Prepared

Be prepared and know what you're doing. In Solano County you must sign up in Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville within 21 days of sentencing if you have not already done so. Take all of your papers when you go to enroll. Take a check for the initial fee. Before you enroll, ask your Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI attorney which program length is correct, rather than relying on information or "advice" from the DUI program staff. You may risk DMV rejecting re-licensing or other bureaucratic messes by enrolling in the wrong DUI program without competent legal advice from a Solano County DUI lawyer. You must start classes within 21 days of enrollment. 9 CCR 9848. Programs are required to offer a sliding scale for fees depending on ability to pay. 9 CCR 9879. Programs offer monthly payments to accomplish the DUI program fee. Be sure to keep your Payment Receipt.

Client comment: "Jake, I survived DUI class initiation. It's kinda funny that they said everything you said they would; it was scary. I thought a few times that they were going to deny me."

Client comment: "As you said would happen, when I went to sign up for the DUI classes I was told it didn’t matter how the court ruled in my case, it is what the DMV has as my BAC when I was arrested that matters...I just told the social worker I would check it out and only signed up for the three-month course." Jake replies: In this client's case, the DUI program was absolutely wrong in its interpretation of applicable law, and, coincidentally, would have collected more money from my client if he had followed the misleading advice from the program official rather than the correct advice from his Solano DUI lawyer.

Client comment: "Thanks for the letter and the instructions on how to proceed. I went to my DUI orientation class yesterday...I believe I was the only person in a the very full room who had not lost their license. I sat next to a woman with a heavy Russian accent who told me a bit of her story. At the end I concluded that either [a] she had been taken advantage of and had a truly terrible lawyer, or [b] she was lying convincingly. I gave her your name in case it was the former but she said that it was a done deal. There were lots of people who asked questions indicating that they had been misinformed or underinformed by their lawyers. The DUI Program staff people stated repeatedly that DUI lawyers don't know the law around this and call them with questions every day. I have to say, I knew the right answers to any questions that pertained to my own situation, though I did not offer this information. Thanks for helping me through this. I have not yet but will definitely write a recommendation for you to post on your incredible website if you like. Your resource lists and links are so extensive and detailed, they would make a social service agency proud."

Be sure you can supply your Solano County Superior Court Case Number, and either the court order showing your referral, or a Form H-6 driver license history which you can obtain for a nominal fee at the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DMV prior to enrollment (always make copies to leave at home). You should be permitted to enroll as long as you bring these materials. (see, State Letter Re: Enrollment Documents). If you hired a Solano County lawyer to handle your DMV hearing, then typically the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DMV already sent a copy of your H-6 printout to your lawyer and you may ask him/her for a free copy. If there are further questions about your ability to enroll, call your attorney while you are still at the DUI program office so that you can properly and timely accomplish your enrollment while minimizing your stress and inconvenience.

Client comment: "After that they gave me a hard time about where I got my "H6" form and acted like it wasn't good enough. In the end, it worked. (I used the DMV record you emailed with my case # written on it). They were somewhat flexible on the schedule. For somebody like me it sucks no matter what... at least it will be over in 10 weeks. They also pushed out my first class a bit to help assure I'd have my restricted license to get me to and from the classes on my own. I just wanted to let you know, so you could share with other clients who may ask specific questions."

Schedule of Classes

The Standard First Offender ("3-month") DUI Program in Solano County typically consists of two hours of class and one hour of group meeting per week in Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville for ten weeks, plus one orientation meeting and one exit interview. A participant who successfully enrolls the first week at orientation (by being one of the first 4-8 people to arrive -- usually requires showing up at least two hours early) and begins classes the following week, can complete the program in 12 weeks (including the 15-minute mid-program interview) if there are no missed weeks.

Typical First Offender Class Schedules. The Solano DUI program is available in three-hour blocks of classes consisting of one two-hour "Education Module," and thereafter, one one-hour group meeting. The following link shows a sample set of available times during the week: First Offender Class Schedules (there there are at least two weekly sets available, and of course they change, so examine all of the current schedule sets at enrollment and then select your individualized schedule). Below are links providing examples of past client class schedules which they selected.

Schedule of ClassesClick any link below to get a sense of how an individual schedule works by viewing actual past examples of Solano County's standard first offender DUI program class schedules, and then click the pic for recent weekly schedules (3/2019):

Example #1 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Mon Morning)

Example #2 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Mon Eve)

Example #3 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Tues Eve)

Example #4 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Tues Eve)

Example #5 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Weds Afternoon)

Example #6 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Weds Eve)

Example #7 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Weds Eve)

Example #8 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Thurs Morning)

Example #9 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Thurs Afternoon)

Example #10 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Thurs Eve)

Example #11 for 3-Month DUI Program Schedule (Fri Eve)

Typical Extended First Offender, and Multiple Offender Class Schedule. Click here for examples of the typical extended first offender 9-Month Class Schedule (Tues Eve), 9-Month Class Schedule (Weds Eve), and 9-Month Class Schedule (Weds Late Morning) for first offenders with over .20% blood alcohol or refusal cases; or the first year of a typical multiple offender 18-Month Class Schedule, or another 18-month Class Schedule, or another 18-month Class Schedule, or another 18-month Class Schedule.

Missed Classes. Approved absences are permitted: 2 for wet reckless program, 5 for first offender program, 7 for the extended first offender program, and 10 for the multiple offender programs. 9 CCR 9876. Absences must be made up prior to completion of the program. Participants may submit prior written requests for absences (unless unable to do so) for any of the following reasons: military service, work requiring travel, personal or family illness, incarceration, recovery, personal or family extreme hardship, or vacation. 9 CCR 9876.5.

Follow the Rules; You Can't Afford to be Terminated

The DUI program may dismiss participants for a variety of alleged failures set out in 9 CCR 9886. Although the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville drinking driver DUI Program will normally work with you on necessary absences if you contact the program in a timely fashion (i.e. prior to the absence), still, the Solano County DDP and the rules they enforce can be tough. You must show up on time (they often close their doors at start time and do not allow late attendance). You will be turned away or your enrollment terminated if you have alcohol on your breath or are otherwise under the influence. However enrollment at the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville office, and completion of their whole program, is mandatory to return your driving privileges to normalcy, so you should be prepared to follow the rules and meaningfully participate.


If you are terminated from the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI program, you should receive a termination letter. For example if it is alleged that you failed to attend or contact the program, then you may receive a Non-Contact Termination Letter from the Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI program, or if you are terminated for having alcohol on your breath (9 CCR 9874), then you may receive a Sobriety Failure Termination Letter. In most cases, these letters are also transmitted to the court where a Judge will decide whether to call you in for a possible violation of probation or other action. Typically, the DUI program will simultaneously transmit to DMV a Dl 101a Notice Of Non-Compliance, which, in turn generally results in a DMV "Order of Suspension" Letter, etc. Contact your Solano County attorney promptly to see about a re-referral, especially if this is your second or higher DUI (Solano County does not typically allow calendaring a re-referral for a first DUI). Rules on re-referrals vary among counties. Solano County will re-refer some terminations with a simple over-the-counter request at the court clerk's office.

DUI Program Policies And Decisions May be Challenged

Solano County DUI lawyers understand that many DUI program staff and administrators are not as informed about applicable laws and regulations as they think they are; some of the most stubborn operators and staff have been encountered in North Bay DUI programs, but their often rigid practices and decisions may be modified or reversed by DUI lawyer intervention, sometimes with assistance from state regulators required to formally explain correct practices to intransigent programs. For example, according to 9 CCR 9876.5, you and your Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyer may be able to provide proof to the Solano County DUI program of a legitimate qualifying absence and apply for a retroactive leave of absence (prior to two years from the date of your last attendance (9 CCR 9886(f)), where the Solano County DUI program can correct a wrongful (or mistaken) termination and reinstate you in good standing with the DMV and court without you having to return to court. The state agency listed below may be contacted by your Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyer if the Solano County DUI Program is unresponsive in such a situation. Click here to see a list of the Regulations Governing DUI Programs, and here to see applicable Health And Safety Code Sections 11836-11838.

DUI programs are accountable in court, where their decisions may be challenged, and at the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division, Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Unit, which licenses and performs compliance monitoring on all DUI programs in California (located at MS 2602, P.O. Box 997413, Sacramento, CA 95899-7413, (916) 322-2964) where DUI programs are regulated by state administrators. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated or suffer unnecessary consequences of inaccurate advice from DDP staff who may not fully comprehend the applicable law, and who are not motivated by your personal circumstances. The DDP and the courts can make inadvertent mistakes, or set policies which focus on their own agendas, but which often may be clarified, corrected or challenged. Your attorney is the best source of legal advice in this area.

Client Comment: Jake, my Solano DUI program counselor told me that while I am on my three years DUI probation, I am not allowed to transport alcohol, even in the trunk of my car. You never told me about this, is it true? Jake's Reply: No, I'm glad you checked with your Solano DUI attorney; every case is different, which is why program "counselors" should not give legal advice which may not apply in your case. Although some DUI sentences in Solano County do include prohibitions on alcohol possession and use (typically multiple offense cases or first offenses with very high alcohol levels), most first offense sentences, including yours, do NOT prohibit possession (or transportation) of alcohol.

EmailClient Comment: Hi Jake, I hope all is well. I had a quick question about my terms of probation. During a recent DUI class an instructor said that as long as you are on probation you are prohibited from drinking alcohol under any circumstances. I'm curious if this is true as it does not seem to be indicated in my sentencing order. I'm wondering in the instance that say a friend is driving and is pulled over for a minor violation and the officer learns I'm on probation and asks if I had been drinking and I say I had, would this be a probation violation? Thanks for your time, just want to make sure I am following all terms. Jake's Reply: Your DUI "instructor" is wrong on the law. Although all Solano DUI sentences should include prohibitions on any alcohol in your blood when driving, and some DUI sentences do prohibit alcohol use at any time (typically multiple offense cases or first offenses with very high alcohol levels), most first offense sentences, including yours, do NOT prohibit consumption of alcohol if no driving is involved, so you were absolutely right to check your own sentencing orders before believing such generalized statements of law, and very smart to confirm your suspicions with your friendly Solano DUI lawyer.

Client Comment: Jake, my DUI class teacher claimed that since I now have a DUI, if I am in the car with someone who is pulled over and charged with a DUI, I will get another one. Is this true? Jake's Reply: Your DUI class "teacher" is wrong on the law; aside from heightened penalties if you get a new DUI conviction, the only change in rules which you suffer after a DUI conviction is that during your three-year probation period only, you are not permitted to drive with any alcohol at all in your blood. But no one is ever subject to a DUI arrest as a passenger in a vehicle unless suspected of interfering with its operation (like grabbing the steering wheel). You can’t drink and then drive, but you can be a passenger with no personal criminal risk related to the conduct or condition of the driver. It's really dumb to suggest otherwise.

People are often told by DUI program staff they may not enroll in a DUI program until convicted of a DUI, or at least until the separate DMV Admin Per Se hearing process is completed. This is incorrect (see the Department Letter Re: Pre-Conviction Enrollment) and following such advice may lead to a longer driver license suspension period than required by law. With proper documentation (typically the DMV H-6 driver license printout which may be obtained for $5 by going to any DMV field office before trying to enroll in a DUI program) anyone may "self-enroll" without papers showing a court conviction or DMV administrative decision. The Solano County DUI program has a Program Waiver to facilitate early enrollment when there is some question regarding type of enrollment. If you receive any legal advice from a DUI program, or if you believe you were wrongfully terminated from the Solano County program, then contact a Fairfield, Vallejo or Vacaville DUI lawyer to discuss alternatives and remedies.

Non-California Residents

If you live in a state other than California, then talk to your Solano County DUI lawyer about the possibility of either waiving the program altogether, or "self-enrolling" in a DUI program (meaning that the court will not require any compliance date for enrollment or completion), or attending an equivalent program in your home state, or satisfying the requirement with an approved Online DDP Program for nonresidents only; most online programs will not satisfy California DMV requirements to lift license suspensions, but may satisfy Fairfield or Vallejo Court probation requirements, so it is important to discuss options, consequences and solutions with your local Solano County DUI attorney before relying upon any other advice.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, North Bay resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of North Bay DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.

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