February 25, 2024


If you have been to court for a minor case, the chances are that you have seen a judge include educational courses or counseling in the sentencing, sometimes instead of jail time. These courses can consist of defensive driving, anger management and substance abuse, but they may also include parenting classes for divorcing couples or impulse control courses for juveniles. 

What Are They?

Like an online drug and alcohol course, court-ordered classes are designed to help someone recognize and modify behavior and even find further resources to help overcome addiction. Other types of classes will include refreshing your memory of driving laws, help you navigate tricky situations such as co-parenting or recovering from domestic abuse. 

Why Do Courts Order Them?

Courts started ordering classes to reduce jail and prison populations while acknowledging that, in some cases, people just needed help to stay out of trouble. For instance, traffic and parking tickets count against your record, and if you have too many, your license can be suspended or revoked. To remove points from your driving record, you can take defensive driving courses and refresh your memory on the laws in your state. The judge is trying to help you avoid future tickets by assigning these courses; he or she is also trying to make the road a safer place and matching the sentence to the crime.

What Are Some Benefits?

In addition to curbing repeat offenses and reducing jail and prison violations, court-ordered classes can connect government or private resources to those who need them the most. Those suffering from anger or addiction issues can find therapy groups to recover with others, or they can discover classes teaching different distress management methods. These courses are effective as an intervention and can curb recidivism more effectively than jail time for first-time offenders. 

Taking court-ordered classes to keep your driver’s license or avoid jail time can seem like a small price to pay for the benefits you are receiving. These courses help make society a better place, curb repeat offenses and connect resources to those who need them.