Whenever a person is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia, he will be required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program—referred to as VASAP or ASAP for short. Successful completion of this program is essential to avoid the imposition of any suspended jail sentence or fine at a revocation hearing. If you have been convicted of DUI, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to ensure that you understand the requirements of ASAP and for assistance if you have received an ASAP violation notice.
What Is the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program?
VASAP is a program that focuses on substance abuse and its effect on driving abilities and health and how to evaluate yourself for possible substance abuse. When you enter the program, you will be tested for drugs and alcohol and will be reclassified for treatment depending on your specific needs. There are three components of this program:
- Intake. During intake, you will be asked a number of questions about your alcohol or drug use. You will be assigned a case manager who will determine whether you need alcohol and drug treatment as well as the educational course that everyone must take. Your case manager will also assign you a certain number of hours in the educational program and will provide you with a list of approved ignition interlock providers near you.
- Education and treatment. VASAP does not conduct the educational program that you must complete. You will be referred to a separate treatment center or addiction program where you have to enroll in the course. The entry level is 20 hours of classes. These are usually a two-hour session once a week for 10 weeks. However, depending on your history, conviction(s), and specific needs, you may be required to attend a longer treatment program. You may also be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing while attending these sessions, and you must remain drug and alcohol free for the duration of your probation period.
- Probation. If this is your first or second DUI offense, you will most likely not be assigned to a probation agency for supervision. Instead, you would be on unsupervised good behavior probation. If you violate any of the rules of VASAP, such as having positive urine screens for drugs or alcohol or failing to attend meetings or classes, they may report your violation to the court. They will ensure that you attend all required classes, pass any drug and alcohol tests, and install and use an ignition interlock system. At the end of your good behavior probation, VASAP will run a criminal background check to make sure that there are not any new criminal charges.
How Much Does VASAP Cost?
The cost for VASAP is between $250 and $300. You must also pay for the 20-hour course. Its cost is required to be reasonable and is approximately $100. If you have been granted a restricted license, you will have to pay the cost of installing an ignition interlock system and its monthly maintenance fee.
Can You Enroll in VASAP Before Your Court Hearing?
If you have been charged with DUI, you are permitted to enroll in VASAP before your trial. This will prequalify you for an ignition interlock device and show the judge that you are serious about the charges you face. You must enroll in a VASAP in the jurisdiction where you were arrested, but you can be referred to a program in your city or county. This is also true if you live out-of-state but are charged with DUI in Virginia. You can find a list of programs on the VASAP website. You should first consult your attorney to determine whether you should pre-enroll in VASAP.
Consequences of Violation of ASAP Rules
If you are not following through on what is required under the ASAP program, you may face harsh consequences. Common violations of VASAP requirements include:
- Not attending the intake appointment
- Facing new criminal charges
- Missing classes without a good reason and without getting prior approval
- Failing alcohol or drug tests
- Violating the terms of the ignition interlock requirement
Your case manager may report your noncompliance to the judge, and a show cause hearing will be set. You would be required to attend this hearing and show why you should not be incarcerated for your violation of VASAP. The judge may revoke your suspended jail sentence and/or fine, and impose some or all of your jail sentence and fine. In addition, the DMV will not reissue a driver’s license when VASAP is not completed.
If you are facing DUI charges or have been charged with a VASAP violation, our experienced DUI attorneys are here to help. We handle these cases in Fairfax and throughout Northern Virginia. Call to schedule a free initial consultation today.