Will I go to jail, or is going to jail a possibility?
Every law carries a minimum and a maximum, so jail is always a possibility. A first time offense DUI carries a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and a maximum penalty of 180 days (six months) in jail. DUI has become a very serious issue, and some judges will give jail time for even a first offense, for purposes of "teaching a lesson". However, most first time offenders do not end up doing jail time.
There are a few exceptions:
- If you had a minor or anyone under 18 in the car at the time of the DUI arrest;
- If you had an accident in the case;
- If there were other charges in addition to DUI, such as hit and run or having a suspended license;
- If you blew at or above a .15% blood alcohol level (double the legal limit or above);
- If it is alleged that you were speeding while DUI; or
- If you have any priors.
Those situations mandate that you likely will have jail time associated with your case. However, don't despair. A good DUI defense attorney can make a presentation to the prosecution, or the judge, for alternative sentencing, and present evidence from you to mitigate your sentence.
In many jurisdictions, if a person is convicted of a DUI or DWI offense, the judge has some flexibility, (within proscribed limits) on sentencing. Sometimes, the judge has no choice but to impose some jail time, especially on a second offense. It is at times possible, however, for a skilled advocate, to convince the judge to either minimize jail time or impose alternative options to jail, in some situations. Some possible alternatives might include:
Alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet (SCRAM)
Sheriff's Work Program
Electronic Home Confinement (House Arrest)
Alcohol or Drug Rehabilitation (Rehab) Program
Sober Living House
Alcohol Monitoring Ankle Bracelet (SCRAM)
SCRAM® (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is a tool that helps courts and agencies continuously monitor their alcohol offenders to ensure they're not drinking. Because SCRAM continuously monitors offenders - as often as every half hour around the clock - it is a much more effective and reliable alternative to random testing methods or incarceration.
Instead of going to jail, the participant is allowed to work at a predetermined site during the day, which is usually designated by the Probation Department of the jurisdiction. The participant is allowed to go home at night to sleep, but usually not allowed to go anywhere else-except a treatment--before returning to work at the program site the next day.
Under this program, the participant is allowed to keep his own job, and go to work everyday. At night, however, he must return to a dormitory-style facility located at the jail to sleep at night.
This option involves the participant wearing an ankle bracelet that electronically monitors his or her location at all times. It is also known as "house arrest." Usually, however, arrangements can be made for the participant to go to school or work, so long as the "arrestee" is home at a specified time.
Instead of going to the regular jail, the defendant convicted of DUI or DWI, may be allowed to spend a night at the local police station, and then be released the next day.
Alcohol or Drug Rehab Program
In some instances, but not all, a DUI conviction may be indicative of an addiction problem requiring a treatment program. Alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs may be residential or outpatient. An experienced attorney can often recognize when his or her client needs such a program, and guide the participant to seek this option. Then it may be necessary to convince the court to sentence the person to the rehab program, instead of jail.
This is another option that may be advisable for a person with a long-term alcohol or drug problem. It involves living in a residence where all the people staying there are sober. Usually such an arrangement will involve regular attendance at a 12-step program, either at the house or another location.
If you are worried about going to jail for your Orange County DUI, it may be to your advantage to hire our Orange County DUI Lawyers who know all the ways of keeping you on the outside.
Go to the next question, Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor?
If you would like to speak in person, or have questions, please call (877) 568-2977, or email us through the Contact the Firm page.