DRINK-DRIVING is a more serious offence than many people realise.
For example not only can you face imprisonment and be banned from the roads you can also lose your job.
And it even means you are banned or at least have to apply for a visa to enter some countries, including America, for holidays.
But when convicted and banned it is possible to reduce your sentence by up to 25% if magistrates choose to refer you for drink-drive retraining.
It will not remove your criminal record but it can help you to avoid re-offending.
Wrexham Magistrates refer offenders to Telford Training Consultants (TTC).
TTC development manager, and former police officer, John Price, explained how the course works.
'We are not a counselling service,' he said. 'We do not try to stop people drinking or get them to stand up, say their name and admit they have a problem.
'We aim to help people learn how to control drinking and driving as separate activities and show them how to keep those activities far away from each other.'
He added: 'These courses grew out of the North Report on driving tendencies in 1988 and are supported by the Home Office.
'Despite magistrates referring people the courses are not compulsory although attendance can see a one year driving ban reduced by three months and a three year ban by nine months.'
Courses run over two-and-a-half days and educate offenders on the effects of drink.
Mr Price said: 'We discuss the effect of alcohol on the body, the different strengths of alcohol, the concept of units and the reality of how quickly alcohol gets out of your system.
'We also show people a real trial where a drink-driver has done some crazy things. His court hearing is adjourned and while he is waiting to reappear he is caught reoffending. Then we role-play to show people what can happen in these cases.'
He added: 'Most people who are convicted think drink-driving is a motoring offence, not a criminal one. That's not the case. It gives you a criminal record and can impact on the rest of your life.
'One of the last things we show is a video of a reconstruction of the death of Tarporley landlady Lynne Hilton's daughter.
'We are not demonising drivers and telling them the video represents them, but it does represent what they could do when driving while drunk.'
Mr Price said: 'We then go through practical things like getting their license back and any tests or forms they have to complete to do that.
'A lot of people tell us we are just getting drunks back on the road quicker but that's not the case. We are training people to be better drivers and not to drink and drive again.'
He added: 'I believe these people deserve their punishment. However, I also believe the public do not deserve to become victims once a driver's ban is up.
'The Traffic Research Laboratory did a five-year study into reoffending nationwide and discovered that of offenders who do not attend the courses and just get their license back after their ban, 17% re-offend within five years.
'Of those who take the course only 7% re-offend. It is figures like this that make these courses so popular with the courts because without education punishment alone is not the answer.'