If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you might be in a lot of trouble. One factor that will affect whether or not you stay out of jail will be how much you had to drink at the time of your arrest. Complying with instructions and requests from the police is important. Remember that you have rights, but you also should be courteous to those around you when you are arrested – it could help you in the long run.
The rules and regulations for helping alcoholics that are facing with DUI charges are different in each state, and sometimes even different within each county. For example, California has some of the least serious fines and charges for DUIs in the United States.
California law usually allows a first-time offender to avoid jail time. This, of course, will depend on whether there are other circumstances, like drug abuse or accidents, involved in the DUI charge. More than likely, a person will have to complete community service, which is about eight hours of work per day assigned. You can’t eliminate any time off this sentence, though, like you can with a jail sentence, so what you get is what you’ll have to complete.
Sometimes, a first-time offender will have to go to jail. This could be because the offender caused an accident or because the alcohol in the blood was just too high to allow for community service. Likewise, high speeds or endangering the lives of others could lead to jail time. You can help yourself in these cases if you are compliant with the requests of the court. Seeking help from an alcohol or drug abuse treatment center may also strengthen your case for community service instead of jail time.
If this is your third or fourth arrest for driving under the influence in the last 10 or so years, you may be in more trouble than in any other case. Jail time is likely to be part of your sentence, and you might have to deal with that. However, there are steps you can take that will help you avoid jail or reduce your sentence. The dangers of effects of alcohol use can be harmful to your health, how much more if you’re driving with alcohol in your system?
For instance, seeking a residential rehabilitation program may be acceptable in place of jail time. Residential treatment is 24-hour care, so you will not be able to come and go as you please. The program will need to detail what treatment you will receive for the court, and you must meet the obligations and participation requirements of the program for this to be acceptable. You may be able to seek an order from the court to go to rehabilitation instead of jail, but this needs to be determined with the judge. A lawyer can help you determine the best course of action.
Also, seek a drug rehabilitation center that is known to have a program that works. A judge who is suspicious of the type of rehab you want to enter is less likely to accept this as an alternative, and you might end up facing jail anyway.
Another thing you can try is asking for a work-release or outpatient program. Judges may be reluctant to agree to this, since you’ll need to have transportation to and from this kind of program. Your age, the factors involved in the arrest, and your compliance may be what determines if this is acceptable to the court.
If you’re faced with jail time in the end, see if you can do time at the city or private jail in the area. Normally, those convicted of a crime are sent to a county jail, but there are reasons that you could be sent to the smaller city jail instead. Private jail costs extra, but you will be surrounded by different people, like police instead of a warden. You will need to get a court order for this, but some people, usually those with no history of violence, drug use, or other legal problems, should be able to go to the local jail instead. If you or a loved one has an alcohol abuse or addiction, call our helpline at 1-888-744-0069 and get ready to learn more about how to help an alcoholic and the possible treatment options.
Even with three or four DUIs under your belt, you may be able to trade time in prison for time working community service. You will need to get approval from the court for the type of work you want to do for the community, which may be difficult. If you have health problems that prevent you from doing a Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program, known as SWAP, you may be able to do community service in its place.