In Virginia, anyone who is convicted of any offense related to driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol must enter and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP).
What if my charge is reduced to Reckless Driving?
Even if a prosecutor agrees to reduce a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge or another lesser offense, the offender may still have to complete VASAP.
The following are a few things you should know about this program:
1. VASAP has three basic phases
There are three main phases and/or functions of VASAP: intake, education and probation.
During the intake phase, you will answer several questions to help VASAP officials determine if you have dependence on drugs or alcohol. Your answers will help your case manager decide if you need more than just the educational component required in the VASAP program and, if so, the level and nature of treatment you will require.
Treatment centers and addiction programs provide the education component. Typically, the arrangement is for offenders to take a 10-week course, at two hours per session. At this point, if your case manager decides you need additional treatment for addiction, you will also receive the appropriate treatment as determined by the court. For this reason, it is very important to cooperate with your case manager. Make your case manager your BEST FRIEND!
Finally, your probationary period extends through your education period and some months afterward.
Will I be subject to breath/urine tests?
During your courses, you may need to submit to an alcohol or drug test. VASAP will also require you to complete all your courses and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device requires you to register a legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level before you can start your car.
2. The program is not free
The standard fee to enter VASAP is $300, plus $100 for the 10-week course. A judge may waive or reduce these fees for those who are unable to pay them. You may also ask for a payment plan. This may require some persistence, as VASAP prefers to be paid up front.
3. VASAP is not just for those dependent on drugs or alcohol
One of the most common questions VASAP receives is whether people who do not suffer from addiction or drinking problems must go through the entire program, including the educational component. While it is theoretically possible that VASAP could allow you to skip some parts, don’t count on it. The program is meant to be both a deterrent and an educational experience for offenders from all backgrounds.
4. The program provides additional services
In addition to its standard educational and treatment programs, VASAP also offers services such as a Young Offender Program, Habitual Offender Evaluations, Driver Improvement, Habitual Offender Relapse Prevention, Reckless/Aggressive Driver Courses, Driving Suspended Program, First Time Drug Offender and Ignition Interlock.
To learn more about VASAP and what you can expect out of the process, meet with a knowledgeable and experienced Fairfax DUI Lawyer at The NoVa Law Firm.