If you've ever received a DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you're probably familiar with the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (usually referred to as ASAP). ASAP, which is required if you have been convicted of a DUI, is a series of classes and treatment programs that help people with substance abuse issues.
Participation in ASAP often comes with a reduced jail sentence or lowered fines, but there's a catch: you must successfully complete the program without violating any of its rules, or face being slapped with even more penalties. Unfortunately, many people fail to complete the program and struggle with the repercussions of VASAP non-compliance. I'll tell you more about the kinds of violations you'll want to avoid below, and when a Fairfax DUI attorney could be of help to you. If you are in need of assistance with ASAP, don't hesitate to call Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C.
Understanding ASAP Requirements
Although technically the court can waive the ASAP requirement, this almost never happens even if it's your first DUI. However, even if you cannot avoid ASAP, being prepared can help you succeed.
During the intake process, you should expect to answer a lot of questions about your drug and alcohol habits. Next, a case manager will be assigned to you who will decide whether you would benefit from drug or alcohol treatment. They will also assign you a certain number of hours of education. (This will depend on the specifics of your case, including past convictions, but the minimum number of education hours you can expect is 20.) In addition to treatment and education requirements, you'll need to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. These devices, which you will have to blow into before your vehicle will start, are expensive.
To successfully complete the program, you'll need to go to your intake appointment, abstain from drugs and alcohol, properly use your ignition interlock system, attend your education classes, and avoid committing any additional crimes.
What is VASAP Noncompliance?
ASAP is often referred to as “VASAP probation” because the requirements are similar to those we see with probation. If you violate any of them, your case manager WILL report your ASAP non-compliance, also known as “ASAP non-comp” to the court. Another similarity to probation is that you can be required to take a drug or alcohol test at any time.
If you violate any of the conditions of the ASAP program, you can expect the consequences to be harsh. Unfortunately, people fail to successfully complete the program all the time. Here are some possible ways you could get an ASAP violation:
- Failing to go to your intake appointment. If you miss this key initial appointment, you will be automatically in violation of ASAP rules.
- Being charged with a crime. During your time in ASAP, if you are charged with ANY new crime, it's a violation.
- Missing educational classes. If you need to miss an ASAP class, you must have it approved by your case manager. If you fail to do this, you will not successfully complete the program.
- Failing alcohol or drug tests. You must remain sober throughout your time in ASAP. What happens if you fail a VASAP drug test? Or if your BAC shows you have been drinking? You don't complete the program.
- Ignition interlock violations. If you have someone else blow into the device, tamper with it, or try to remove it from your vehicle, you will get a violation.
If you are found doing any of these things, your case manager will likely report you to your court as ASAP noncompliant. At this point, you will have to attend what is known as a Show Cause hearing, where you'll have to explain why you should not be sentenced to jail time for your violation. There are many potential punishments that could result from this hearing, including the reinstatement of your jail sentence and any fines that were suspended on the condition of completing ASAP. In addition, your driver's license will not be reissued.
The courts in Fairfax take ASAP violations very seriously, and it is never too soon to get legal help when it comes to these issues. If you are struggling to meet VASAP requirements or are facing VASAP non-compliance for any reason, getting in touch with a lawyer is a good way to help yourself.
If you have been charged with a VASAP violation, a Fairfax DUI attorney may be able to help. Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has helped many local citizens with ASAP violations and John Kassabian may be able to help you as well.
Contact him today at 703-750-3622.