Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads
Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads

What to Expect from Virginia's DUI Education Program

Mug of frothy beer with handcuffs and keys symbolizing drunk driving arrest.

The VASAP process: How Virginia's mandatory driver's education and substance rehab program works.

Facing a DUI conviction in Virginia can feel like hitting a roadblock, but there's a detour ahead: The Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program. VASAP isn't just paperwork — it's an important factor in determining whether you'll face additional fines and jail time. Therefore, before you hit the road to VASAP, it's important to consult an experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney. Based in Norfolk, Welch & Wright, PLLC, helps people navigate VASAP's requirements and steer clear of any unexpected hurdles along the way. Here's what you can expect:

What and where is VASAP?

If you were convicted of DUI, The Code of Virginia requires you to enroll in and successfully complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program. It's a form of extended probationary oversight directed by the court that offers related services such as intervention interviews, evaluations for habitual or multiple offenders, driver improvement courses, classes for reckless/aggressive driving, specialized programs tailored for young offenders, and more.

There are 24 ASAP locations throughout Virginia. The first step in VASAP participation is to report to the ASAP office in the jurisdiction where the offense/conviction happened. Around Norfolk, ASAPs are located in:

  • Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach
  • Eastern Shore Branch, Accomac
  • Peninsula, Newport News
  • Southeastern Virginia, Portsmouth

The VASAP process

There are multiple steps in the VASAP program. The details of an individual's case will determine how specific education and participation requirements are met. In general, though, here are the steps in Virginia's ASAP:

  • Check in. Those convicted of DUI must report to their assigned ASAP within 15 days of the court order or conviction date. Any attempts to enroll after 15 days may be denied. The failure will be reported to the judge, and the exact consequences will be determined by the court.
  • Enrollment. Next up is enrollment, which includes filling out many documents, including an offender questionnaire, consent forms, and a participation agreement. An orientation meeting or video may follow. An individual case manager is assigned at enrollment, and an intake appointment is scheduled, sometimes on the same day as enrollment.
  • Intake. The individual's case manager conducts an intake review and analyzes the individual's case in detail. Using this information and assessment guidelines, the individual is categorized as Intensive Education or Treatment Assessment and is recommended for specific services and intervention types that may benefit them best. One of two things will happen based on an individual's category: They may be scheduled for ASAP intensive education classes (IE) or directed to select a pre-approved treatment provider to determine if substance abuse treatment is appropriate, too (TA).
  • IIDs. Case managers also help people convicted of DUIs obtain and install required ignition interlock devices (IIDs). Attached to the individual's vehicle, IIDs administer alcohol breath tests. Unless a driver is alcohol-free, the vehicle will not start.
  • Attend class or therapy. Classes usually start within 60 days of intake. Typically, VASAP classes are about 10 hours. They are scheduled in weekly two-hour sessions over five weeks. Class attendance is mandatory. Rehabilitation and therapy services have individualized requirements.
  • Obtain a notice of completion. In Virginia, ASAP programs are not complete until all outstanding fines, fees, and program costs have been paid. Once an individual completes their ASAP program and their debts are settled, it is a good idea to request a letter or certificate of completion from VASAP. This document - and any other VASAP documentation - should be kept indefinitely for verification purposes and court requests.
  • Complete court orders/probation. Even after VASAP is completed, an individual may still be monitored and on probation until the period of license suspension ends.

Strong legal support throughout the DUI process

Have you been charged with a DUI? At Welch & Wright, PLLC, our attorneys fight for favorable outcomes - especially in DUI defense. We dive deep into every case, leaving no stone unturned. Our Norfolk DUI defense lawyers prioritize personalized attention, ensuring your case gets the focus it deserves. Contact us today for a free consultation. A member of our team is available to hear from you 24/7.

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