Suspected DUI offenders are often working people with families whose lives can be turned upside down by a drunk driving conviction. If you are charged and convicted for drinking and driving in Orange County, alternative sentencing options can be pursued by your DUI defense attorney. These sentences are available in lieu of going to jail and or prison so that you can continue to keep your job and provide for your family.
One alternative sentence that might be pursued by your lawyer in your DUI case is to agree to do community service. Such community service assignments often involve working with organizations the promote victim’s rights, such as victim panels organized by the anti-drunk-driving advocacy group MADD. You may also be given the option to volunteer at a charitable cause that you feel strongly about.
During your community service, you should carefully record any and all time spent on your tasks, no matter the charity or job. The court will require a formal record of hours. Generally, eight hours of community service will equal one hour of incarceration.
You might have seen small groups of people in city uniforms picking up trash along the highways, clearing roadside brush or removing graffiti from city buildings. They could possibly be part of the CalTrans Work program. This alternative sentence is generally set as a condition of probation for a case that involved driver intoxication.
If given this alternative punishment, you will be required to report at one of many Caltrans locations, where a van will pick you up and take you to the designated work area. Van pick-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis. At the end of the day, the van will return you to where you were picked up. Every hour spent working for Caltrans counts against the hours that would have otherwise been spent in jail. A certain length of time is usually allotted for you to complete the required hours and there are flexible scheduling options. The weekends are the most sought after hours, so early arrival at the pick-up location will be very important if you are working weekend hours. If the required hours are not met in the time allotted, you will likely be charged with a violation of probation.
Orange County uses the banning work program in lieu of jail for most first and second DUI offenders. The program requires you to enroll in banning and then will assign you a work program close to where you live. You will be required to have a valid identification card as well as $90 cash when you go to sign up for the program.
Under certain case circumstances, your lawyer can pursue an alternative sentence that involves care and counseling from one of the sober living services in the area. Sober living facilities generally provide housing, alcohol and drug counseling services, self-help group sessions, education or training, and help finding a job. According to a university research report, sober living was found to be quite effective in promoting long-term recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.
Your DUI defense attorney may ask the judge to consider house arrest or home electronic monitoring in lieu of sending you to jail. This option can either arranged by the probation department or you can secure the program from a private, licensed company. Under this program, you will be required to remain at home but can continue most of your regular activities, such as going to your job, attending school, care-giving children or other family members, as well as keeping medical appointments and shopping for household necessities. There is a nominal cost for this program.
Programs may vary in design. Some provide an electronic device that is strapped to your wrist or ankle and linked to a monitoring mechanism in your home. The probation office or a contractor will receive a signal at a computer from your device that will indicate whether or not you are complying with the terms of the house arrest agreement. With other programs, you will be required to respond to random phone calls to ensure you are where you should be, or the program will utilize a global positioning system (GPS) to determine your physical location at all times, via a satellite.
The option of electronic confinement is only available for certain DUI offenders. A first offense case may not require mandatory jail time, but a judge, by all rights, can impose a jail sentence of up to six months. Your attorney can fight for house arrest as an alternative sentence in this particular type of DUI case in Orange County.
In cases where the court absolutely requires jail time as your DUI punishment, in very few circumstances, you can opt to serve in a private jail facility, where you may be offered work furlough privileges. You’ll be able to work during the day and return to the facility after work. This option can be a bit costly, but less disruptive to you and your family.