HOW OFTEN CAN CHARGES, JAIL TIME, OR OTHER PUNISHMENTS REDUCED IN THESE CASES?
The fines are standard. You are not going to get those reduced. You can elect to do a lot more work time or something similar in lieu of a fine. Sometimes the courts allow you to do that, especially if you are strapped for money but the fines are standard. It is funny, they vary from county to county but within the counties, for a first time, second time, or third time DUI, the fine is always about the same. In California, it is a little above $1,800, $1,900, in some counties up to $2,400.
You do not know why the counties are different. They tack on different fees but the fines are standard. The judges will not reduce the fine unless you agree to do more, such as jail time or work time. If there is a long jail sentence, maybe after a period of time, they can ask the court to reconsider it; that happens occasionally but it is not very common. Generally, when you are sentencing a DUI case, the sentence will stick. Most of the times you can keep the person out of jail, so you do not really go in and get anything reduced.
The person is usually put on probation for a few years, possibly three to five years, depending upon the county. Generally, it is called summary or court probation. You do not have a probation officer that you have to report to but you are supposed to stay out of trouble. In case you move, you are supposed to notify the court of change of address, by writing a letter to the court with your new address. That is generally the only requirements. However, they cannot while they are on probation. They will not even entertain it while on probation.
The attorney can go into court after a year or two of successful probation and ask the judges to terminate it successfully, so the person could apply for citizenship. However, most times, you can get that accomplished. People should realize that if they are on DUI probation and they have any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood while they are driving and get stopped, they may just have a 0.01% or 0.02%, they probably will not get charged of the crime or even a probation violation. They would not get charged of the crime but they might get charged with a probation violation.
The real problem is that DMV can take their license for a year if they are caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while on DUI probation. So, it is advised that if you are ever go on DUI probation, make sure you are careful because you can lose it for a year even if you are not charged with a separate crime.
ARE THERE ANY ALTERNATIVE PUNISHMENTS OR DIVERSION PROGRAMS THAT FIRST TIME OFFENDERS CAN GET INTO?
Strictly speaking, there are no diversions for DUI cases. Some courts do that. There are some veteran diversion programs but it depends on the individual case. First time DUI offenders do not usually get diversion, almost always never. However, in some situations the veterans might get some sort of diversion such as home detention. It is not the courts that actually order home detention, it is the sheriff's department of each county that does.
The court can recommend it and the sheriff will usually follow the recommendation but they do not order it. If the court recommends against home detention, the sheriff will not give it to a person but the sheriffs generally have rules that they do not give home detention to people if their sentence is below thirty –one days. That is because it is a problem for most counties to monitor. For short term people, you would have to have a sentence of over their minimum amount.
They will usually give you work alternative programs where the sheriff puts you to picking up trash or washing cars, usually the sheriff's vehicle for two eight-hour days where each eight-hour day is a day in jail. You should do that on a weekend. If you go on home detention, they will put an ankle bracelet on you. If you are out of the state, instead of going to jail, the judges will have you do some amount of state community service that is equivalent to the time you might spend in jail. There is a lot of alternative sentencing you can do depending on the case. Most cases do not require it but sometimes you do have to get a little creative.
For more information about Alternative Programs And Getting Charges Reduces In A DUI, call The Law Office Of Blackie Burak for a FREE Case Evaluation at (925) 933-4500 and get the information and legal answers you're seeking.