DUI Penalties & AA Meetings
Can the Court Mandate Attendance of Alcoholics Anonymous?
A Court should not require a person to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings as part of the penalties for a DUI conviction due to the religious element involved in these meetings. However, it is common for AA meetings to be offered in plea negotiations and a defendant can consent to attend AA meetings as a condition of probation in order to avoid additional or greater penalties.
Can Attending an AA Meeting Help My Case?
Attending AA meetings voluntarily prior to the resolution of your DUI case can also be an effective way to negotiate a better plea bargain, particularly in cases where the blood alcohol level is high or there are prior DUI convictions on the record. Judges and prosecutors like to see acceptance of responsibility for any underlying alcohol problem. After all, treatment, education, and rehabilitation are the most effective tools to prevent the commission of future offenses. Prosecutors can be persuaded to accept AA attendance instead of more punitive penalties such as jail time.
What If I Don't Have a Drinking Problem?
Many people arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles do not have a drinking problem but have merely made a one-time bad decision. On the other hand, alcoholics are prone to come up with a list of reasons as to why treatment is not necessary for them and resist attending AA meetings, even if they do have a problem. Whether you believe you have a drinking problem or not, attending AA meetings is a short-term inconvenience to avoid greater long-term penalties and should at least be considered an option for anyone arrested for a DUI.