What To Expect if Convicted of DUI During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just taking its toll on lives and the economy. It’s also affecting the justice system on several levels.
Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, courthouses have either scaled back their operations or suspended them altogether.
With the court closures and reduced operation, countless proceedings have been delayed, which has led to increasing case backlogs. Worse, people held in pre-trial detention also had to stay in jail longer than necessary.
If you ever get arrested for drunk driving these days, you will likely face the same kind of delays, as court operations have yet to normalize.
But what if you, for some reason, end up facing your first DUI conviction despite COVID-19-related delays? Here are some things you can expect if convicted of DUI during COVID-19.
A Higher Risk of Coronavirus Exposure
DUI offenders usually expect to serve time in jail, pay a hefty fine, have their driver’s license suspended, install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their cars, or attend and complete DUI education classes, among other things.
Of all the consequences of a DUI, serving time in jail or prison is the scariest of all in the time of COVID-19.
Jail or prison time means being in close quarters with strangers, any one of whom could be COVID-19-positive. The word “strangers” here doesn’t just apply to fellow inmates but also to the authorities that run the jail or prison.
Even more terrifying is the fact that the coronavirus is already wreaking havoc on U.S. prison and jail populations.
The Possibility of Home Detention
Considering the dangers of sending people to jail, it wouldn’t be too far fetched for some judges to waive mandatory jail terms for DUI offenders.
Instead of jail time, a judge could sentence you to home detention with an electronic monitoring system and continuous breathalyzer tests.
At least that’s how things are shaping up to be in places like Arizona’s Santa Cruz County, whose Board of Supervisors voted to establish a Home Detention Program for DUI offenders during a state of emergency, which the COVID-19 pandemic clearly is.
Whether or not other places in the United States follow suit with a DUI Home Detention Program of their own remains to be seen.
With or without a global pandemic, a DUI conviction will always be something that needs to be avoided. The best way to do that is never to drink and drive in the first place.
However, if you get arrested on suspicion of DUI, always secure the services of a skilled and experienced DUI attorney to better your chances of a dismissal or an acquittal in your DUI case.