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Avoiding jail time after a DUI charge

In Georgia, drunk driving is a common offense. In fact, roughly 20,000 state residents are arrested on DUI charges each year. Because related accidents lead to hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries, law enforcement officers tend to be tough on impaired drivers. Legal penalties include jail time, court fees, and the suspension of one's driver's license.

There are other - worse - consequences, too. The establishment of a criminal record can make it difficult to find suitable housing or employment. One's professional license may be revoked. Students can lose scholarship funding and financial aid. Moreover, recent research indicates that many people suffer terribly from the stigma associated with arrests and imprisonment. Those convicted become vulnerable to anxiety and depression, and have a difficult time carrying themselves with confidence in their communities.

Civilians and authorities alike have questioned whether the current system is adequate. Simply put, many wonder if there is a better approach to punishing DUI offenses.

Alternative sentencing for DUI crimes

Put in the wrong situation, almost anyone can be find themselves arrested for drunk driving. Recognizing this, the state of Georgia offers a few alternative sentencing options. Namely, those charged with DUI can sometimes avoid jail time and related punishments in exchange for participating in other state-sponsored programs:

  • Probation is the most common alternative to jail time. And, in order to avoid overcrowding the prison system, the courts often grant probation - especially to first-time offenders.
  • DUI school and treatment programs are other means of avoiding harsher punishments. In some cases, individuals are able to enter rehabilitative treatment or educational programs instead of enduring other penalties.
  • Likewise, some individuals are able to obtain a work release waiver as an alternative to imprisonment, enabling them to keep their jobs and continue on with their careers.

Not everyone is able to participate in such programs. They are often reserved for individuals who can demonstrate that they want to make meaningful changes in their lives, and are unlikely to commit a DUI offense in the future. With this in mind, it is crucial to work with an attorney who knows how to present the full scope of a client's situation, and argue the strongest possible case on his or her behalf.

Drunk driving is still a problem - but less of one

Despite the high number of arrests each year, Georgia's drunk driving rates are actually below the national average. In no small part, this may stem from alternative sentencing programs that dissuade individuals from committing repeat offenses.

If you have been charged with DUI, or know someone who has, it is worth speaking with a lawyer to see if an alternative sentencing program is possible for you.

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Norcross, GA 30071

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