DUI Sentencing Alternatives

Sacramento Attorneys Assisting People Charged with Drunk Driving

Sometimes it is not possible to obtain a dismissal or acquittal for drunk driving charges. First, second, and third DUIs are usually charged as misdemeanors, but they carry the possibility of incarceration in jail. Alternatives to jail time or expensive fines are often available, especially for misdemeanor offenders. A good attorney may be able to help you obtain a DUI sentencing alternative. Experienced Sacramento DUI lawyer Travis G. Black formerly worked in law enforcement and can advise you about these alternatives to jail or fines.

DUI Sentencing Alternatives

If you are convicted of a DUI, you will have a sentencing hearing. The sentencing hearing is an opportunity to get sentencing mitigated and to ask for alternatives to penalties like jail and heavy fines. Sentencing alternatives are preferable to jail time. However, it is important to have a skilled attorney present at sentencing to make sure that suitable alternatives to detention are thoroughly discussed and considered.

One common sentencing alternative for a first DUI is community service. With community service, you will need to report to a probation officer or other officer to formally log the hours ordered by the court. Usually for first offenders, community service is a flexible alternative, and the number of hours is easily managed. Repeat DUIs can result in increased community service to avoid jail. There are many different types of organizations through which you can complete community service, but you will need the court to approve your choice.

Sometimes the court simply appoints the organization for which you must complete community service, and it may be an organization for victims of drunk driving. Often, people convicted of DUIs are referred to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to complete your service doing roadside cleanup on California's highways.

Often, judges require convicted defendants to complete a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The lookback period in California is 10 years, and if you have repeat DUIs during this period, you almost certainly will be required to complete a program. Sometimes the length of the program increases due to multiple DUIs. You may need to complete both a court-ordered treatment and a separate treatment program to show the court that you are aware that you have an issue and have taken steps to address it.

Another sentencing alternative is a sober living environment. This is an environment that alcoholics or addicts can use to eliminate their dependency. Often, these environments have services such as treatment and rehabilitative programs. A person who enters into this environment is required not to use alcohol or other drugs. Generally, this is not for people convicted as first offenders. However, when there are multiple offenses on your record, and you realize that you have a substance abuse problem, you may be able to enter into a sober living environment instead of jail. At the sentencing hearing, your lawyer can argue that you suffer from serious alcoholism and need a sober living environment rather than incarceration.

The court may also order as part of your sentence that you attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. These may be part of a probation sentence for a first offense. First offenders who had a blood alcohol content of .08-.19 may be able to complete a three-month program that includes Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as one component.

Still another sentencing alternative for first offenders is attending a MADD Victim Impact Panel. These are 2½ hours, and you will need to give documents from the court to the staff when you attend if it is part of your sentence to attend.

Another sentencing alternative is the use of electronic tracking devices to monitor for alcohol. This alternative is usually not for first offenders, but it might be used in the case of someone believed to have an alcohol abuse problem due to many repeat DUIs. One of these devices is the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, which is affixed to your ankle and notifies authorities if you consume alcohol by detecting whether alcohol is being released in your sweat. It checks your blood about once an hour at random intervals. Another device that might be required as part of a sentence is an ignition interlock device. This device keeps a car from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol.

Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney in Sacramento or Surrounding Areas

If you are convicted of a DUI, there are DUI sentencing alternatives that may be available to you. Our firm has experience defending DUIs and may be able to argue for many of the different alternatives to jail time at your sentencing hearing. Our Sacramento lawyers skillfully represent people arrested for DUI from our Folsom office. To obtain a free consultation, call Travis G. Black & Associates at (916) 962-2896.