The repercussions of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) conviction in California have a long-term impact - convicted drivers must pay substantial fines, serve jail sentences, and have their driver's licenses suspended. However, courts have developed alternative sentencing programs that give authorities greater flexibility in meting out punishment. A California criminal defense attorney who focuses on drunk driving defense can explain the types of alternative sentencing available in DUI cases.
Alternative sentencing are designed to help as well as punish a convicted drunk driver. Sentencing alternatives permit DUI drivers to keep their jobs and receive treatment for alcohol problems, if necessary - opportunities that are rarely available in county jail.
Good time/work time custody credits are one sentencing alternative available in many California jurisdictions. Custody credits are hour-for-hour exchanges of alternative punishment against the hours that would have otherwise been spent in county jail.
Types of custody credits available may include community service, freeway cleanup, electronic monitoring, sober living environments, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and participation in a MADD Victim Impact program.
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Another sentencing alternative that may be available is the installation of an ignition interlock device - equipment attached to a vehicle's steering column which requires a driver to provide an alcohol- free breath sample before starting the car - and the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM, which measures alcohol with a device attached to the DUI offender;s ankle.
Work furlough is another option of alternative sentencing that allows a convicted DUI driver to go to work during the day and check into a dormitory-style housing facility at night. Another option is work release, which allows DUI offender to go to an approved job location during the day and return home at night.
In some California jurisdictions, DUI offenders can serve jail sentences at "weekend jails" at local police stations rather than county jails. Some police departments will "rent out" their jail cells to DUI offenders overnight or for a weekend.
Alternative sentencing options can be a viable option for convicted DUI drivers who wish to avoid serving part or all of their sentence in county jail. A skilled criminal defense attorney who focuses on California DUI defense can evaluate each case to determine whether sentencing alternatives may be available.
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