Posted on: 24 May 2019
Paying the price for being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) often depends upon the exact circumstances. You should realize, however, that jail time is a real possibility. Often, those convicted of a DUI are given the opportunity to take an alternate path when it comes to sentencing. Read on to find out about alternatives to incarceration for your DUI charges.
Sentencing Standards for DUI Convictions
While there is such a thing as minimum sentencing standards, the state and judges have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to punishing those convicted of a DUI. The more serious the charges, the greater the chances that you might do jail time. Here are a few DUI issues that could influence either your plea bargain offer or your sentence should you go to trial:
- The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test reading.
- The record of the accused, particularly previous DUI arrests and convictions.
- The existence of aggravating factors, like an accident or injuries.
- The existence of additional charges, such as fleeing, resisting arrest, etc.
Alternatives to Jail
Jail time is unproductive for the defendant and the state. It costs the government money to house prisoners and it often disrupts the life of the accused in a lasting manner. To help keep those convicted of DUI home with their families and attending to their employment or education, alternatives have been developed. The nature of these programs and punishments vary from place to place, but first-time offenders have an excellent chance of avoiding detention if they follow the program's rules to completion. Some of the alternatives include:
- Community service
- Participating in drug and alcohol education classes
- Court-ordered rehabilitation (often outpatient)
- Counseling by mental health practitioners
- Court-ordered Alcoholic's Anonymous (AA) meetings (or other "12 step" programs)
- Victim restitution, if appropriate
In some locations, alternatives to incarceration include programs that take things a step further by allowing those convicted of a DUI offense to wipe their records clean. These diversionary programs are known by varying names, but many of them provide offenders with a suspended sentence. The sentence is held in abeyance until the accused performs certain actions in accordance with the program. Often, the alternatives listed above are included in addition to frequent appearances before the judge to report on their progress. As you might guess, diversion programs focus more on providing the accused with tools to help them recover from their problems than with punishment.
In all cases, the system tends to look at those who fail to complete the programs and alternatives above with less than favorable leanings. Failing to comply and re-offending during the programs will have devastating effects on the defendants and their ability to participate in future programs will be seriously curtailed. Speak to an attorney to find out more about avoiding jail for your DUI.Share