Most individuals arrested for driving under the influence are employed and have families that depend on them. If convicted, the consequences can be an enormous burden on one’s life and can jeopardize the job that provides the income for the family. For this reason, alternative sentencing is something that should be considered.
If you have been convicted of a DUI there are options for alternative sentencing. Some of these may include:
Community Service: Community service can sometimes be an option when negotiating with the district attorney in an effort to lower the charges.
Caltrans Work Program: The Caltrans Work Program is another option, generally set as a condition of probation. The Caltrans Work Program involves cleaning up litter along the roadways, clearing brush and cleaning graffiti where needed.
Sober Living Programs: As an alternative to jail, I will often suggest a sober living program rather than jail. These programs provide housing, alcohol and drug counseling, education and employment assistance.
House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring: House arrest or home confinement allows an individual to continue their regular activities, such as going to work, attending school and caring for children or other family members.
Private Jail or Work Furlough: There are a few private jails in that often allow work furlough privileges and are a nicer alternative to county jail. These facilities can be expensive but much less disruptive to one’s life.
The option for alternative sentencing depends largely on whether this is your first conviction for dui, second, third or more.
In California, we have what is called Sentence Enhancements. What this means is that if convicted of DUI, under certain circumstances the Court can impose a greater penalty. Those circumstances include: 1) Prior Convictions – If convicted of a DUI within the last ten years, jail time, DUI school and license suspension periods are increased. Two priors within ten years results in even further penalty increases and if you have three or more, you will be charged with; 2) High Blood Alcohol Level: A BAC level of .15 or higher, results in an enhanced sentence; 3) Test Refusal: There are two consequences to refusing to take a chemical test. The amount of jail time is increased and the DMV will impose their administrative suspension of your driving privilege; 4) Speeding and/or Reckless Driving: At the time of arrest, a sentence enhancement will be imposed for 20 mph over the speed limit on a surface street and 30 mph over the limit on a freeway.
A conviction for DUI can carry long lasting effects on a person’s life and for that reason, it is important for anyone facing a DUI conviction, to have experienced legal representation. A good Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, who has expertise in DUI arrests, will make every effort to have the charges reduced and/or dismissed. A key factor in choosing an attorney is to look for an attorney who is familiar with the Court in which the case is pending, as well as the other Courts in that County. A good relationship with the Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and other personnel can influence a positive outcome and ensure that you get the best possible result.
Anyone who has been arrested for DUI, needs an attorney who is skilled and will gather the appropriate evidence, know how to use it intelligently and efficiently, and render the best possible outcome for their client.
If you would like to know more about sentencing alternatives, or driving under the influence, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.