Friday, May 16, 2008

California DUI alternative punishment

There's a growing epidemic these days with the justice system and its jails. To put it simply -- jail and prison space is in limited supply, especially in heavy populated states like California. Because of this space problem, DUI busts for first timers and even repeat offenders are often punished using methods other than cell time. This will be a small brief that will cover a few of the methods in the California penal system that is used by many counties as an alternate to using jail.

Hard Labor

The California Dept. of Transportation, often known as Cal Trans, is often the go-to party in a California DUI sentence. Since the overcrowding of jails and the heat coming from the ACLU, more and more trash pickers are found along freeways and beaches. Many California DUI lawyers will push for an alternative to jail time using overcrowding as a leveraging argument if the jail sentence is long, but for a short jail time option, working for Cal Trans would be not as favorable since the work is pretty rigorous and jail time sentences are often reduced for non-violent offenders.

Typically a job working with them involves going out in your prison suit and spending a few weeks (depending on the judge's criteria and mood) on the freeway picking up trash and debris. The DUI offender would be under supervision from an officer.

Rehab and Sobering Up Prevention

Sometimes California courts will trade off time spent in rehab for jail time. According to state penal code section 2900.5 it equates the two as equal given some circumstances.

In a California DUI sentence, the court will determine the time spent in rehab, but usually it's around a month or so of program attendance. Much of its beginning programs are a "detox" system, which is a mental and physical purge of the alcohol drug and the immediate mental addiction that is associated with alcoholism. And just like rehab, the transition into a sober living environment can count as jail time too. A sober living environment is the more extensive therapy to address the underlying emotional and lifestyle forces that are attributed to addiction.

Electric Monitoring

The most common secondary punishment that can take away jail time sentencing is the ankle bracelet. It's also becoming a recognizable tool among laymen due to celebrities toting these around their leg. Lindsey Lohan is a prime example for a DUI offender, although some may remember Martha Stuart talking openly about it on her show (although her case was for insider trading charges).

This piece of electronic gadgetry is simply a monitoring devise that allows authorities to know where the DUI offender is located and if they are obeying their California court sentenced curfew or are at authorized places (home, work and a few stores are usually the only options).