The time frame for the Education portion is 24 hours to be completed in 12 weeks (2 hour sessions).
This is followed by a Therapy portion which will vary in length depending upon which Track (A,B,C,D) you are required to complete.
What are the goals of Level II?
There are two goals for Level II Education: 1) reduce recidivism and 2) prevent relapse. Not everyone who is charged with a DUI has a destructive pattern of alcohol use, but many of them do. Through a series of techniques, such as assessments, history taking, exercises, and discussions provider's can ascertain if a client is high risk for substance abuse or dependence. An extremely important goal for providers is to develop a therapeutic relationship with each client, which is based on trust. A good provider will never accuse a client of having a problem, but will guide him or her to their own conclusion. And if help is asked for, the provider will be able to respond. Abstinence of the client who is alcohol dependent is the ultimate goal, thus relapse prevention parallel's the goal of abstinence.
What is the curriculum of Level II all about?
The curriculum is derived from Dr. Aaron Beck's Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy model; how we think about situations influence how we feel and act upon those thoughts. For example, if a client believes he or she can safely drive home after a night of drinking at the bar because the distance home is very short (which is relative), we would consider that thinking distorted. The goal of the DUI Education is to align realistic thinking with healthier, more positive-outcome behaviors.
The curriculum focuses on a client's thinking, or cognition. What our attitudes and beliefs surrounding drinking and driving are will offer much insight to whether or not one will be likely to reoffend. Through activities and group discussions, providers hope to bring a new awareness to the clients about the many dangers of drinking and driving.
What are the "ripple effects"?
Throughout the 12 weeks, the ripple effect is also discussed. You will discuss the personal consequences such as the time spent in taking care of the legalities, the financial aspects, effects of employment, the lingering criminal record, the loss of freedom due to loss of the privilege of driving, etc. It's pointed out that you are not the only person involved in your offense. If you have a significant other and family, it effects them, as well, including financial burdens, inconvenient driving arrangements, and the stress of it all.
Beyond that, a person's drinking and driving effects the community. Numerous drinking and driving offenses have involved negative life changing consequences, including death, to blameless motorists and pedestrians. According to the Century Council (http://www.centurycouncil.org/state-facts/colorado), in 2011 there were 161 Alcohol-Related Driving Fatalities in Colorado.
Are there tips for being successful on Level II?
Success would depend on your attitude. Getting it done and over with as positively as possible. Have an open mind, be cooperative, have homework assignments complete, participate in groups, don't miss groups, be on time, don't show up under the influence. And lastly DO NOT REOFFEND.... Level II education is completed before any level II therapy tracks are started. If you reoffend, therapy hours will continue to count (and you can complete therapy first), but you MUST redo all 24 hours of education after therapy. You cannot take education and therapy in the same week, meaning only one 2-hour class can be taken per week.
Additionally, if the Level II provider isn't doing their job (timely data input, being more condescending than helpful, aloof, etc) you can change agencies midstream. Probation officers, or any other entity, cannot tell you which agency you MUST go to. The only circumstance is when probation is paying for the services via vouchers.
Additional resources provided by the author
Many thanks to Cherie Smith, MA, LPC for her insight into writing this legal guide. You may contact her for additional information or resources at (303) 927-8582. I have included a hyperlink for her below as well.
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