As a resident of Florida, you’re likely well-aware that Florida has a reputation for being harsh on crime and DUI is no exception. If the prosecutor has a strong case against you, you may be nervous about spending up to six months of your life behind bars – and that’s only for a first DUI offense without any aggravating factors. As a Miami DUI attorney, my primary goal is to get my clients’ charges dismissed. However, if the odds are against a client, I aim for more favorable alternatives to a jail sentence.
Under special circumstances, a DUI defendant has sentencing alternatives available in lieu of jail; if this is possible, I do everything within my power to pursue one of these options. In Florida, most DUI convictions involve a period of incarceration, whether it’s for a misdemeanor or felony DUI. For example, a first DUI is punishable by up to six months in jail, a second DUI is punishable up to 9 months in jail, and for a third DUI, the jail sentence can be as long as 12 months.
Alternatives to Jail
If you’re like most people I work with, you simply can’t afford to go to jail. That is especially the case if you’re employed or have a family to support. In short, most people can’t afford an extended interruption in their income, and such absences put their jobs at stake.
Under Sec. 316.193(6)(k) of the Florida Statutes, judges have the discretion to order alternative sentences, such as a residential drug abuse treatment program or a residential alcoholism treatment program, and the court must credit the time served towards jail time.
Alternative sentences are usually available to individuals with misdemeanor DUI convictions, in the absence of a violent criminal record. Low-risk offenders may be eligible for the House Arrest program, in which case they are required to wear a passive GPS anklet or an electronic monitoring device. Another option for low-risk offenders is enrollment in the Day Program. This is a less restrictive form of supervision, however, the offender is required to report to their house arrest officer daily.
Interested in exploring your options?
I’ve only scratched the surface regarding alternative sentencing options. If you were arrested and charged with DUI, not only will you want to fight your charges, but you should be aware of the alternatives to jail.
If you’re interested in obtaining more information about alternative sentencing, don’t hesitate to contact my firm, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. for a free consultation!