Each year, approximately 22,000 people are arrested for drunk driving in Orange County. Many of those convicted who go on probation are sent to any one of several local alcohol rehabilitation programs. These programs, which normally include some combination of group therapy, group discussion and education, are run by independent centers that contract with the county's courts (see below for a list of those centers).
Offenders are sent to one of three treatment levels depending on the number of prior convictions. The judge may also recommend a level based on the likelihood of repeat offenses. The line dividing the different levels, however, is generally between first offenses and multiple (two or more convictions) offenses.
Drunk driving laws for first offenders are set by the county, but those for multiple offenders are set by the state. In addition, the county may add regulations to the state laws.
First offenders who want to keep their licenses are normally sent to one of the county's two Level I programs. The first mandates eight hours of education and six hours of drink refusal skills training. The other program also includes eight hours of education. However, it requires only four hours of drink refusal skills training and adds one hour of field driving training, during which participants observe an intoxicated driver maneuvering a car through an obstacle course.
All multiple offenders must participate in group therapy for 52 weeks (one hour per week) and 12 hours of group discussion (one hour per month). They must also see their case manager for 15 minutes every other week.
Another program, intermediate between the programs for Level I participants and multiple offenders, is Level II. It was established in February, 1986, after the courts determined there were some convicted first offenders who were at high risk for repeat offenses. This program provides more therapy than at Level I, but is not as lengthy as a multiple offender program. Participants take part in the multiple offender's program for nine months, rather than for a full year. They must also participate in 38 hours of group therapy, nine hours of group discussion and meet with their case managers for 15 minutes every other week.
Regardless of level, all offenders must completely abstain from alcohol. Penalties may range from a trip back to court to Antabuse therapy. Antabuse is a drug that induces vomiting in those who consume alcohol after taking it.
ALCOHOL REHABILITATION PROGRAMS Below is a listing of the local alcohol programs that take court referrals of convicted drunk drivers. The offender must pay all fees*, including making arrangements for fee waivers or reductions where applicable; no local or state funds are used. Level II and multiple offender's programs School Ten Fees are on a sliding scale. 2384 E. Orangethorpe Ave. Anaheim 92806 (714) 871-9460 120 S. Brookhurst St. Anaheim 92804 (714) 772-3620 9555 Garfield Ave. Fountain Valley 92708 (714) 964-1412 1772 S. Main St. Santa Ana 92707 (714) 547-7571 6162 Garden Grove Blvd. Westminster 92683 (714) 891-3608 South Coast Counseling Fees are $669.50 for first offender's program and $790.20 for the second offender's. The price difference corresponds to the difference in the length of the programs. Also, the center provides financial assistance to those who have difficulty paying for treatment. 28052 Camino Capistrano, Suite 210 Laguna Niguel 92677 (714) 582-2833 2850 Airway Loop, Suite B-3 Costa Mesa 92646 (714) 641-0532 Programs for first offenders National Council on Alcoholism Fees are $139 for the Level I program and $224 for the Level II program. Also, there is a sliding scale for clients with an annual income of less than $10,000, which is verified through tax records. 1100 E. Orangethorpe Ave., Suite 150 Anaheim 92801 (714) 992-1870 2110 E. 1st St., Suite 120 Santa Ana 92705 (714) 835-3830 National Traffic Safety Institute The center declined to reveal its fees, except to say there is a sliding scale for those whose annual income falls below an unspecified amount. 2120 Howell Ave., Suite 410 Anaheim 92806 (714) 634-0981 Academy of Defensive Driving Fees are on a sliding scale. 31726 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite 118 San Juan Capistrano 92675 (714) 240-0595 School Ten (See above for fee information) 6930 Westminster Blvd. Westminster 92683 (714) 898-8388 * All fees subject to change. Below is a listing of the number of people referred to county programs since 1983. Some of the year-to-year differences are due to changes in the laws describing first offenders and multiple offenders. For instance, beginning on Jan. 1, the length of time that drunk driving records remain active was extended from five to seven years. Thus, someone convicted before that date who had a prior drunk driving conviction six years before would be considered a first offender; anyone convicted after that date with a six-year-old conviction would be deemed a multiple offender.