It's finally happened. You've had a drink too many, you've been pulled over, and you've been arrested. How can you avoid going to jail?
First, you get a good lawyer. As clichéd as it sounds, you need good legal representation, and it is your right to have a lawyer represent you. Do not try to do this alone.
Examine the Evidence
The first stage involves examining the evidence against you. You might find that the police acted improperly at the arrest, such as not reading your Miranda rights. They may not have calibrated the breathalyzer correctly, or they may have not conducted the blood test properly. All of these little things could result in a complete acquittal. If this does happen, count your lucky stars and don't drink and drive again.
The next stage depends on which state you're in. If you're in Wisconsin, for example, you're probably in luck. Wisconsin has some of the most relaxed DUI laws in the United States. If you're facing a first-time DUI charge, you will likely receive a fine and a license suspension. If you're very lucky, you might be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a wet reckless plea bargain, which would reduce the sentence further.
Most other states are not so lenient, however. Many have minimum sentences, but most are for one and ten days, although some states require that those with blood alcohol levels over a certain amount spend longer in jail—sometimes a minimum of 30 days.
In addition, the court may order you to have an interlock device on your vehicle. This is a device that locks the engine if you have alcohol on your breath when you blow into a tube.
Many states also have what are called enhancers. If you're driving with others in the car, your sentence will go up. If you have a minor in the car with you, it will go up further. Naturally if you have caused a wreck, you'll start looking at mandatory jail time unless the judge can be persuaded that jailing you is not in the state's interest.
Alternatives to Jail
Consequently, people, including judges, look for alternatives to jail. After all, if you've got an alcohol problem, it's not going to be cured while in jail, and most studies show that prison terms of under six months are no deterrent to crime. In addition, you could be the primary breadwinner to support your wife and three children. This often means that jailing you would lead to unnecessary hardship for your kids, which is something no one wants.
The answer may lie in an alcohol addiction program. A court-mandated program may even be paid for by the state, depending on where you are, so you can detox in peace.
Well, sort of.
Court-mandated clinics are often outpatient clinics, as these are the most cost-effective for the state. If you miss a session, you can find this gets reported back to the court. Miss a certain number of sessions without good cause and you can find yourself back in front of the judge, who may order a custodial sentence.
These clinics are generally fairly effective, and you can pay for your own clinic as well, if you want something nicer. Many celebrities choose this route as it allows them to relax while being treated. After all, you don't want a group of star-struck patients with you.
Sometimes the best policy really is honesty. If you've got a problem with the demon drink, admit it. If you cannot control your drinking, talk to your lawyer. He may be able to persuade a judge you've got what it takes to turn your life around—and make sure you do.
Avoid Getting Arrested
The final stage is to avoid getting arrested for a second or third offense, as this is when jail time starts becoming harder to avoid. State laws start heading toward months or even years of prison time as the offenses stack up, so it becomes progressively harder to avoid it. In addition, the more you drink and drive, the more likely it is you'll have a fatal accident.
If you do have an alcohol problem, though, it's far better to get it sorted before an accident occurs, especially if you're in Arizona, Texas, Florida, or South Carolina, where the laws are very tough. Call us to talk to a trained treatment advisor, toll-free at any time, day or night – 1-800-928-9139.