New Orleans, LA- With Labor Day just around the corner, law enforcement agencies across Louisiana are gearing up their efforts to catch drunken or drugged drivers. Stepped up enforcements mean more of the state’s residents will be faced with the many legal headaches that accompany a DUI conviction which often includes jail time. When facing a potential jail sentence, DUI offenders often wonder if there are alternatives to spending time behind bars.
Even if you believe the evidence is stacked up against you and are contemplating pleading guilty, you need to speak with a Louisiana DUI attorney. They have insight into DUI cases that you don’t and they may find that a solid defense may actually help you stop a conviction. If your lawyer thinks conviction is unavoidable, they can help you negotiate for a plea bargain and sentences that don’t involve jail.
Because many jails are overcrowded, courts often give minor DUI offenders– first offenders, drivers with low BAC or those not involved in a serious drunken driving accidents—an alternative to jail time. Unlike jail, DUI sentencing alternatives address the issue of addiction since many drunken or drugged driving offenders have underlying problems with drugs or alcohol.
Alternative sentences for DUI cases are given to DUI offenders as a condition of their probation and can cater to their individual needs, which are established through drug or alcohol evaluations. Previous criminal convictions, if any, are also taken into consideration. While alternative DUI sentencing is aimed to punish the offender, it has another goal, to rehabilitate them and prevent them from repeat intoxicated driving.
The following are alternatives to jail for DUI convictions:
Sober Living: Another alternative to jail is a sober living environment. This allows the offender more freedom than a rehabilitation program but also offers them the support they need to remain sober. Time spent in a sober living facility can be credited towards the offender’s jail sentence and fines, which gives them the motivation they need to remain in the facility.
Electronic Monitoring: Electronic monitoring is commonly known as house arrests. This sentence allows a person to live in their homes and keep working, but the offender’s movements are severely restricted. Their every movement is tracked through an ankle monitor that they must wear 24/7.
Alcohol or drug rehabilitation: In jail, addicts cannot get the help they need to beat their addiction. Unless the offender is able to conquer their addiction, they are likely to repeat their offense at some point in the future. Treating the addiction and giving an offender the tools to stay sober is the most effective way to reduce DUI recidivism.
Even when a DUI offender is given an alternative to jail, the other penalties for drunken or drugged driving still stand. Those penalties include suspension of driver’s license, fines and penalties, ignition interlock devices and community service.
When a DUI conviction is unavoidable, you still need to have a Louisiana DUI attorney on your side to negotiate with prosecutors and help you broker a favorable plea bargain. They understand the compromise the courts are willing to make and what sentencing alternative will work best for their clients.