Is It Possible to Avoid Jail Time in DUI Conviction? – Guest Post

DUI Conviction

Drunk driving or driving under the influence is a criminal offense everywhere in the United States. While the consequences vary from state to state, fines and probation are mandatory, and you can end up spending time in jail. So, yes, your life can change if you are caught drunk driving.

A DUI is not a simple offense because it endangers the lives of others (aside from the driver’s). It is not something that any driver should take lightly as it is one of the country’s leading causes of accidental deaths.

If you are caught drunk driving, even if it’s just your first time, you have to work with a lawyer who is skilled and experienced in DUI cases. Otherwise, you will have to serve a jail sentence in addition to paying fines, license suspension, and other consequences.

Consequences and Penalties

Jail time for DUI offenses varies in length. In some states, jail time for first offenders can be up to six months at the most, and it can be longer in others. Repeat offenders are legally bound to do jail time for longer periods – possibly a maximum of five years, depending on which state you are in.

If the DUI offense did not lead to injuries or deaths, some states do not require offenders, particularly the first-timers, to serve time in jail. Some states require mandatory jail time, yet offenders have alternative options and avoid prison.

Working with a lawyer is ideal, especially if you do not want to serve jail time. Your lawyer can draw up a plea agreement or battle it out in the courtroom so your penalties can be reduced. A DUI lawyer knows how to convince the court to change your jail time to any of the alternatives indicated below.

1. Probation

A probation consequence is typically required of Dui offenders who express remorse or say sorry for what they did. If the court or judge believes that the person does not pose any danger to society, jail time will be substituted with a probation period.

This doesn’t mean, though, that being on probation is easy. In fact, it can often be exhausting and limiting since you will have to work on particular tasks within a specific time frame. Likewise, there will be rules to follow, and a probation officer will monitor your every move.

While on probation, you are required by law not to:

  • Drive with even the tiniest drop of alcohol in your system
  • Drive without a valid license
  • Commit a crime (of any kind)

You may also have to pay a supervision fee, court costs, restitution, and other related expenses.

If you do not complete or follow the conditions of your probation, you may end up serving jail time instead of avoiding it.

2. DUI Courses

DUI courses or online DUI education programs are court-ordered and often required before an offender can get back their revoked license.

Offenders, including first-timers, must join and pay for classes in drunk driving prevention. There will be discussions about safe driving practices, alcohol dependency, and the repercussions of drunk driving-caused accidents.

A trained and professional counselor is usually present and tasked to evaluate you – to help establish if you need to undergo alcohol treatment or rehabilitation for your alcohol dependency or alcohol use disorder.

Your lawyer can work out a deal or plea so that your jail time can be substituted with DUI courses.

3. House Arrest

Another alternative to jail time is a house arrest. Although you won’t be staying in prison, it can also be inconvenient since you will practically be staying home 24/7, with a monitoring device worn in your ankle. You will not be able to go to any area outside the confines of your property so that it may feel just like a prison.

Your bracelet can detect if you are outside the boundaries of your home; it will send out an alert to authorities. Monitoring bracelets used for DUI offender house arrests are typically the SCRAM or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring type,

4. Rehabilitation

If an alcohol screening determines you to be alcohol dependent, the court will order you to go through alcohol treatment and rehabilitation instead of spending time in jail.

An alcohol rehabilitation program is an ideal alternative to jail time because they usually do not include fines and other penalties. Additionally, you also won’t have to worry about probation.

Joining an alcohol or drug rehab program should be your first alternative since it does more than just reprimand and educate you; it will also help correct the root cause of your DUI offense: alcoholism (or substance abuse).

5. Community Service

There are different options for community service, and each one depends on which state you are in. The most common form is cleaning trash in a specified area and an assigned time frame. You may also be required to do volunteer work and tasks for chosen charities or speak to a group of young drivers about the consequences of driving under the influence, including how a DUI conviction can change their lives.

6. License Revocation

Your lawyer can help prevent you from going to jail by asking for your license to be suspended. A revoked license and not being able to drive may cause some inconvenience, including work-related matters, but it’s still better than spending months or years in jail.

Avoiding a jail sentence for a DUI offense is possible with the help of a DUI lawyer. Knowledge and understanding about DUI and DUI laws will also be a significant help.

About the Author

Lauren Kunis is the Content Marketing Strategist for Stonewall Institute, an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment center that focuses on a holistic, individualized approach to addiction recovery. She loves reading books, travelling, and going on hiking adventures with her dog Max.

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