When you have been charged with certain types of drunk driving-related offenses, you may have a chance to avoid the more severe consequences of a DUI conviction. You have this opportunity when you complete a Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program or Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel.
However, the requirements you will need to meet to fulfill the terms of these programs can be strict. If you do not complete the terms of the program, you may be facing your original DUI or other related charges. Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group can help you enter one of these programs or other pretrial diversion so you can put your drunk driving arrest behind you and move forward with your life.
The HAM Program
There are specific instances in which you may need to enter a court-ordered program such as the HAM program. Individuals who have been charged with minor in possession of alcohol, speeding, and reckless driving, in addition to driving under the influence (DUI), may be required to participate in a Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program. These programs are designed to educate someone who has been charged with a related offense about the risks of their driving habits.
Most importantly, these classes go over the risk of injury or death and aim to help the driver avoid intoxication in the future. Typically, younger offenders will be required to participate in HAM programs.
However, anyone over the age of 30 could also be required to take a HAM program course. This is usually mandated if a person causes severe injury or death due to drunk driving or when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are extremely high.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
What to Expect When You Need to Complete the HAM Program
If you have been ordered to complete a HAM program, you may be wondering what to expect from your course. Here is a general idea of what the HAM program entails:
The Alcohol Awareness Course
First, you will be required to complete an alcohol awareness class. You will be educated about alcohol use, drinking behaviors, traffic safety, and the laws regarding drunk driving in the state of California.
A Visit to a Hospital
The hospital visit element of the HAM program consists of an eight-hour course. You will attend lectures by trauma nurses, emergency room physicians, and emergency responders who will recount their experiences in drunk driving accident cases.
These medical professionals will likely show photos or videos of severe motor vehicle accidents involving the use of drugs or alcohol and the injuries their patients sustained.
A Visit to the Morgue or Coroner’s Office
The visit to the coroner’s office or morgue is a four-hour course that will take place at the LA County coroner’s office. You will take a tour of the area where fatal injury victims are stored after their death and the examination and processing rooms. The coroner will describe the organ donation process for those who succumb to DUI injuries and those who are unable to donate their organs due to the severity of their injuries.
The goal of the morgue and coroner’s office visit is to help those charged with DUI-related offenses understand the severe consequences of drunk driving.
The HAM Program Experience Evaluation
The end of the HAM program includes a reflective element where you consider how the program has impacted you, the lessons you may have learned, and the healthier decisions you plan to make for your emotional and physical well-being. Those required to attend a HAM program will be required to complete a 500-word essay in order to meet the criteria for HAM program completion.
The MADD Program
The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) VIP (Victim Impact Panel) is designed to educate those charged with drunk driving offenses about the impact a DUI could have on the victim’s families. Generally, you will be required to participate in this program as part of your pretrial diversion program or as part of your probation requirements.
What to Expect When You Need to Complete the MADD Program
MADD programs consist of a panel discussion. Multiple speakers may describe their experiences with losing a loved one due to a drunk driver’s irresponsible or reckless actions. Generally, you can expect to pay a small fee to attend the MADD program.
Generally, the MADD VIP program will be offered once per month at various locations across the state. Classes are provided in both English and Spanish and last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on which class you choose.
Click to contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers today
When You Might Enroll in HAM and MADD Programs
Being required to participate in a HAM or MADD VIP program is not a sentencing requirement if you are found guilty of a drunk driving offense or other vehicle code violation under California law. However, when you have been charged with reckless driving, speeding, minor in possession of alcohol, drunk driving, or other DUI-related offenses, completing a MADD VIP or HAM program may be a great opportunity for you to show the court you are taking your charges seriously.
Taking the program can encourage the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges. In some instances, you could work out a plea agreement to allow the completion of a HAM or MADD VIP program in exchange for dropping the charges against you. Other times, these programs can be a requirement as part of pretrial diversion, probation, or parole requirements.
It is important to note if you are required to complete one of these programs and fail to do so, the prosecutor has the authority to move forward with the initial charges against you. This means you could be subject to the penalties associated with the DUI or other related offenses if you are convicted.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Contact a Leading Los Angeles DUI Attorney for Help Today
DUI charges should be taken seriously in the state of California. You may have an opportunity to avoid some of the more severe consequences of a conviction by completing the requirements of a HAM or MADD program.
If you have additional questions about how these programs work or whether you qualify, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group for legal guidance and support. Fill out our online contact form or call our office to schedule your initial defense strategy session today.