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What Are the Jail Alternatives for DUI Convictions in California?

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneysIf you are arrested, charged, and then convicted with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense, that does not necessarily mean you will be serving jail time. In California and many other states, there are plenty of alternatives to jail time, some of which might even give you an opportunity to not only serve your time but also improve your life and your community.  

A Brief Overview of Alternatives to Jail Time in California

From a practical perspective, alternatives to jail time are meant to manage overcrowding in prison and the high cost of jailing people, but in a way, these alternative programs also help the convicts as well. In California, in particular, there are many alternatives to jail time for DUI convictions if approved by the courts. A few of the most common alternatives include:

  • Mandatory AA meeting attendance or similar programs—Court-ordered attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings or other alcohol abuse education classes aim to replace or supplement punishment with rehabilitation. Essentially, the goal with these is to educate you in such a way that you get the help and treatment you need to improve your life and never face another DUI. In addition, a DUI convict might be able to attend any of the following other alternatives similar to an AA program:
    • Professional alcohol and drug rehab
    • Professional counseling/therapy
    • Other educational programs or support groups meant to improve behaviors and attitudes concerning alcohol
  • House arrest—Also known as home confinement, house arrest is not just for white-collar criminals anymore; you might find courts ordering it for you with a DUI conviction for similar reasons that other alternatives are employed. With house arrest or home confinement, you are permitted to serve part of your prison time or all of it from your home as long as you wear an ankle bracelet that tracks your location.
  • Work programs—Work programs, usually offered by the Sheriff’s Office, such as the one in San Francisco, titled SWAP (Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program), allow you to substitute some or all of your jail time for supervised work out of custody for part of your sentence. As with all alternative sentences, SWAP and other work programs are only court-ordered and are not necessarily offered to everyone; however, they do benefit the community as much as the convict. For instance, during these work programs, you might put in a hard day’s work doing any of the following:
    • Street-sweeping
    • Landscaping
    • Washing government cars
    • Janitorial work
    • Painting and construction, including some art
    • Picking up trash and needles
  • Remote alcohol monitoring—Through SCRAM services and devices or other similar tools, law enforcement is able to measure and monitor your perspiration, breath, or other vitals to determine whether you are consuming alcohol. Monitoring is continuous, preventing you from drinking alcohol and getting in a potentially illegal situation that might violate the terms of your sentence. 

Contact a Napa DUI Defense Lawyer

While an experienced and talented San Francisco DUI defense attorney could prevent you from being convicted of a DUI charge with impressive strategies, if you are convicted, you might be able to serve your time in a number of alternative ways. Whether you need your lawyer to strategically defend you and win your case, or at the least fight for you to serve your time in a more productive way, you will want to contact the highly skilled team at Burglin Law Offices, P.C. by calling 415-729-7300 for a free consultation.







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