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DUI classes face major change

Plumas County residents who are under court order to enroll or continue Driving Under the Influence classes will be finding a major shift in programming in March.

The program offered by Plumas Sierra Community Solutions LLC is no longer authorized to provide DUI classes as its program licensure is currently terminated with the California Department of Health Care Services.

In February, flyers went up around the county Wellness Centers and some bulletin boards and county offices notifying the public of the change. Participants in the program, it said, would have until March 4 to “complete the transfer and enrollment process and commence services in an alternate licensed program of their choosing,” according to the flyer.

The “alternate licensed program of their choosing” is Quincy-based Rethink Industries, which does not have any satellite services to other towns in Plumas County. Clients outside of Quincy, regardless of reliable transportation, will have to come to Quincy to continue their program.

“It might be difficult for a few people to get to the class now,” said Patients Rights Advocate Elizabeth McAllister. According to Chief Probation Officer Erin Metcalf, bus passes are available for those with transportation issues.

McAllister offered up scenarios where people affected might not know of the switch. For example, firefighters in the program or anyone not able to make a weekly meeting or might have a 21-day absence from the county.

McAllister spoke to several clients who said the switch has gone smoothly for them. But she worries about whether word got out to everyone that needed to know.

The switchover in program providers began last August, but there are still people in the county who have not switched over yet, with the DMV, Probation and Behavioral Health all in the loop, according to McAllister.

“When a DUI defendant is sentenced to formal probation, the order of judgment will typically include a condition of probation ordering the defendant to complete a program of alcohol education and prevention,” said Metcalf.

Non-compliance, whether deliberate or due to lack of awareness, could have big consequences.

“Should the client fail to comply with the court order, a violation of probation would be filed with the court. As an additional benefit, any client ordered to Formal Probation can be provided services and referrals to other resources such as AA, Celebrate Recovery or the Behavioral Health Department as determined appropriate by the probation officer and indicated by an Offender Needs Assessment and case plan conducted by the probation officer,” said Metcalf.

Plumas County residents in this situation who haven’t switched yet should get in touch with their probation officer.

The flyer states that questions and information regarding the transfer and enrollment options can be directed to Tori Brown at Plumas County Behavioral Health at 283-6307 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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