Those arrested for the first time for driving while intoxicated (DWI) might be surprised at how tough the potential penalties have become. If you're fortunate, you might qualify for some special programs aimed at preventing recurrences of your DWI. To find out more, read below.
Punishments have been the rule rather than the exception, and many can still expect to face jail time, fines, and other punitive actions after a DWI arrest. With an eye towards preventing future arrests and educating offenders, some courts have instituted a number of programs to address alcohol and drug use while driving that don't involve taking up space in a jail cell. These programs bill themselves as intervention programs, alternative sentencing solutions, preventative measures, and diversion programs. They use various ways of dealing with, mostly, first-time offenders who may be stopped before they become further embroiled in their addictive behaviors.
Goals and Solutions
When an alternative to more punitive actions are offered, offenders should sit up and take notice. These programs can not only keep you out of jail but they can be beneficial to you personally. Not everyone is offered alternative sentencing situations and not every state, county, or city has the resources available. Here is a sampling of programs aimed at curbing drunk and drugged driving:
- Assessment is often part of the process as the offender is examined and evaluated by mental health addiction experts to determine the level of affliction and how best to address the needs.
- Classes and seminars that focus on the effects that drunk driving has on victims. Victim testimony, photographs of mangled vehicles and injured victims, and other disturbing scared-straight type content is delivered on a weekly basis for several weeks.
- Rehabilitation for some may be offered. This rehabilitation ranges from a requirement for daily (or a minimum per week) of Alcohol Anonymous (AA)meetings or other twelve-step programs. In some cases, inpatient rehabilitation may be part of the plan.
- Community service not only helps the community at large but is seen as part of a therapeutic plan to help offenders be more empathetic. If involving the homeless populations, it can also help the offender view those who were not fortunate enough to be provided with the opportunity to get help.
If you have been arrested and charged with DWI, you might need to take aggressive actions if you want to be offered some of the above alternatives. Some criminal defense lawyers suggest you begin taking action as soon as possible as an acknowledgment that you need help. Speak to a DWI lawyer to find out more about this type of sentencing.