Alternative Sentencing for DUI
Our Tampa DUI Lawyers Can Explain Your Options
At Thomas & Paulk, our primary concern is to have our clients' DUI charges dismissed. However, in cases where this is not possible, we advocate for more favorable alternatives to a straight jail sentence. In Florida, the law provides sentencing alternatives for special cases of DUI. We believe if this is possible, we must do everything in our power to keep our client out of a jail cell.
One mistake does not have to turn your world upside down. Contact our Tampa DUI lawyers to discuss your rights and all of your available options.
Alternatives to Jail
Most DUI convictions, both misdemeanor and felony, are accompanied by time served in jail, as well as the other penalties. Felony DUI conviction could result in lengthy sentences and endanger your freedom. Jail sentences can be emotionally challenging for both the convicted and their family. If it can be avoided, it should. A Tampa DUI attorney from Thomas & Paulk can fight to help make sure of it.
Per Florida Statutes § 316.193(6)(k), judges in court hearings for DUI can order alternative sentences as credit toward jail time. These alternatives are usually associated with misdemeanor, non-violent DUI convictions where the defendant has no prior violent criminal record. For certain jail sentences, enrollment in a Day Reporting Program may be granted as an alternative. The Day Reporting Program involves various types of community service work in exchange for 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 or attend their place of education. 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. 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 because it addresses the reality of drug and alcohol addiction and also speaks well of the defendant if they complete the program. Completing a residential treatment program is often viewed positively by the judge.
Other alternatives include house arrest and community control supervision for felony cases and probation for misdemeanors. Prison sentences may also be served through "weekend jail," which consists of the individual living life during the week usual and reporting to jail on the weekends.
Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR)
Hillsborough County implemented the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) program as an alternative. This program gives first-time DUI offenders the chance to not only skip jail time but lower their DUI charge to an instance of reckless driving. Additionally, their sentence would not be adjudicated, which means they can mark “NO” to the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” The person charged with a DUI must fulfill a variety of stipulations to qualify. Anyone with a first-time DUI should talk to us about the RIDR program.
Achieving Favorable Results
Thomas & Paulk believes in doing everything we can to achieve favorable results. If we cannot have your charges dropped, our next mission will be to negotiate a favorable sentence. Because every DUI is different, there is no formula judges use to determine eligibility for alternative sentences. Instead, it is your attorney's job to demonstrate that you deserve a lighter or alternative sentence. On many occasions, our Tampa DUI lawyers have been successful 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 communities through employment and education.
To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (813) 321-7323.
If you want to learn more about alternative sentencing for DUI and whether you may qualify, our Tampa DUI lawyers will be happy to discuss your options with you. We have successfully represented thousands of defendants against DUI and other cases; we're ready to help you!
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