There are several serious financial, personal, and emotional costs to a conviction in a California court for violating California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) VC (driving while under the influence of alcohol), and/or California Vehicle Code § 23152(b) VC (driving with a BAC of .08 or higher). California provides some alternative sentencing options for DUI offenders.
An arrest for drunk driving in California causes two events to occur – a judicial proceeding and an administrative proceeding. The first determines whether the accused has committed the crime while the second determines whether the accused will retain his or her driver’s license. At the first, if found guilty, the court will sentence the defendant.
In California, convictions for DUI carry minimum jail sentences even for injury-free accidents and first-time offenses. However, many individuals convicted of DUI serve no jail time and complete their sentence without spending any time in jail or prison. Because most DUI offenders are not violent criminals who will derive few, if any, benefits from incarceration, California law provides judges with the option to offer alternative sentences to those convicted of DUI when appropriate.
“Alternative” sentencing options are sometimes available to people convicted of a first DUI offense in California. These types of sentences provide alternatives to a sentence in a California state prison or county jail.
These alternatives to sentencing include the following:
- Community service;
- Electronic monitoring or house arrest;
- Cal-Trans roadside work;
- Work furlough program;
- Work release program;
- Residence in a sober living environment;
- Incarceration in a private or city jail.
If given an alternative sentence, the defendant’s sentence is stayed conditionally. If the alternative sentencing program is completed within the rules and timeframe set forth by the court, the defendant will never be required to serve any jail time for the DUI conviction. However, if the defendant fails to complete the program, the defendant will be sentenced to the originally required jail or prison time.
California motorists who are accused of driving while intoxicated face a double-edged sword since they may be charged with two criminal offenses – driving while under the influence of alcohol, and/or driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney may be crucial to defending these criminal charges. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter involving an alleged California DUI. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss alternative sentencing solutions in your criminal matter or find out more online here.