If you receive a DUI for the first time, there are probably many thoughts and worries that go through your head about how it will affect your life. One of your biggest concerns is probably “Will I go to jail for this?”
Though first-time DUI offenders could potentially receive jail time for at least a day, there are alternatives to jail so you can avoid facing a long-term sentence.
Probation takes the place of jail time, allowing you to remain in the community while following the procedures of your probationary period. This could include things such as community service, reporting to a probationary officer, license suspension and submitting frequent alcohol and drug tests. It could also include paying probationary fees.
If you violate the terms of probation, you could end up facing jail time in the end, though other penalties besides jail time could apply for a violation.
Your judge is the one who determines whether you will go on probation or not but there are ways to increase your chances of receiving probation instead of jail time.
A plea bargain allows you to plead guilty and accept a lesser punishment than what you may otherwise receive. In many cases, you can plead guilty and receive probation rather than a jail sentence. However, it is very difficult to take back a plea for “guilty” once you have made it, so make sure to consult a lawyer about the best option before making this decision, especially if you believe you are not guilty of your charges.
In some instances, you may be allowed to serve time in a rehabilitation program in place of jail time. This will depend on the treatment program itself. Ultimately, the judge will decide whether you can serve time in a rehab center in place of jail, but it can be another alternative to consider.
Another option is an outpatient program. Residential rehab is different from an outpatient program, and it may be harder to get a judge to agree to outpatient. But even if a rehab program cannot completely replace jail time, seeking rehabilitation could make a judge much more likely to consider probation for you. Like any of your options after a DUI charge, though, you should ask a lawyer first about the best way to proceed.