Alternative Sentencing for DUI

At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., our primary concern is to succeed in having our clients' DUI charges dismissed. However, in cases where this is not possible, we believe in advocating for more favorable alternatives to a straight jail sentence. In Florida, the law provides sentencing alternatives for special cases of DUI and we believe that if this is possible, we must do everything in our power to keep our client out of a jail cell.

Most DUI convictions, both misdemeanor and felony, are accompanied by time served in jail to some extent in addition to the other penalties for a DUI offense. Jail time served is particularly undesirable for individuals who work in order to earn a living because a jail sentence requires time spent away from work. Additionally, jail sentences can be emotionally difficult for both the convicted and their family. If it can be avoided, it should and a Tampa DUI attorney from Thomas & Paulk, P.A. can help make sure of it.

Alternatives to Jail

According to Florida Statutes § 316.193(6)(k), judges in court hearings for DUI offenses are given the ability to order alternative sentences in order to serve as credit towards jail time. These sentence alternatives are usually associated with misdemeanor, non-violent DUI convictions where the defendant has no prior violent criminal record. For jail sentences that do not succeed 61 days, enrollment in a Day Reporting Program may be granted as an alternative in some Florida counties. The Day Reporting Program involves various types of community service work done in exchange for credit towards a jail sentence.

Low risk offenders may also be eligible for an Electronic Monitoring Program instead of straight jail time. This allows the individual to continue working at their regular place of employment for earnings or attend their place of education while serving the sentence for DUI. Work Release programs using electronic monitors are favorable both for the individual and the local community because it allows the person to remain a productive member instead of sitting in a jail cell. The monitor is worn by the defendant at all times and is typically associated with travel limits from work and school back home.

A special alternative utilized by many DUI offenders instead of jail time is participation in a Residential Drug or Alcohol Treatment program.

This is a favorable alternative for all parties because it addressees the reality of drug and alcohol addiction in members of society and it also speaks well of the defendant if they successfully complete the program. In most cases, completion of a residential treatment program is viewed positively by the judge and will satisfy all or a large portion of the potential jail sentence. Other alternatives include house arrest and community control supervision for some felony cases and comprehensive probation for misdemeanor violators. Prison sentences may also be served through "weekend jail", which consists of the individual living life during the week usual and reporting to a county jail on the weekends.

Achieving Favorable Results

Thomas & Paulk, P.A. believes in doing everything we can to achieve favorable results for our clients. If we are unable to have your charges dropped, our next mission will be to negotiate a sentence that fits your needs and way of life. Because every DUI case is different, there is no formula by which judges determine eligibility for alternative sentences. Rather, it is job of your attorney to demonstrate that you deserve a lighter or alternative sentence to jail. We have been successful on numerous occasions in receiving such sentences on behalf of our clients, which allowed them to pay back their dues to society while remaining a valuable part of their community through their participation in employment and education.

One mistake does not have turn your world upside down and a DUI conviction does not have to land you in jail. Contact our Tampa DUI lawyer to learn more about the options available.

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