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If I Hire the Best DUI Attorney Around, Can They Keep Me Out of Jail?

by | Jul 13, 2017 | Firm News

The best DUI attorney can’t always keep you out of jail, but they know a lot of things that can help make it possible.

If you have a driving under the influence criminal charge pending against you, you want the best DUI attorney you can get. Can even the best DUI attorneys always keep you out of jail? No, not always. But your chances of staying out of jail depend not only on your attorney’s skills and experience, but the facts and circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest.

Is This Your First Offense?

As a general rule across the country, if this is your first DUI arrest, you can usually avoid serving your criminal sentence in jail. Depending on the state, as long as you don’t have another DUI arrest in the last ten years, the court considers this as your first.

One thing to keep in mind is that even if you get probation or some other non-jail sentence, you may still serve at least a few hours in jail while you await your attorney, family member or another individual to post bail for you or you otherwise gain release from custody.

However, if there are aggravating factors surrounding your DUI arrest, you may not be able to take advantage of special programs that can help avoid incarceration or reduce your DUI charge to something that doesn’t require jail time.

Are There Any Aggravating Factors?

Many states have special programs or sentencing recommendations that a judge may allow if you meet the eligibility criteria. The exact criteria will depend on the state, but to be eligible for these programs and avoid jail time, you must avoid certain aggravating factors, such as:

  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs you got into an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury.
  • There was a child in the vehicle when you the police arrested you for DUI.
  • You have prior DUI arrests or convictions within the last ten years.

What Is the Criminal Sentence If There Is No Jail Time?

Each state has its own sentencing guidelines and non-jail programs. Additionally, most judges have discretion on which sentence to impose. And remember, even if you and the prosecutor agree to a specific sentence, the judge doesn’t have to agree to it and may impose his or her own sentence.

If you avoid jail time, you will often have to provide or do much of the following:

  • Community service.
  • Pay restitution.
  • Serve probation.
  • Pay any fines.
  • Have a license suspension for at least several months.
  • Agree to enter a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

Collateral Issues

Even if you can avoid jail time, it often requires you to plead guilty to a criminal charge. This conviction can have collateral consequences. So even if you avoid jail time, the conviction could have immigration and civil consequences, such as a revoked or suspended driver’s license or employment issues. This is why you need to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can guide you through the complicated legal system.

Learn more about the best DUI attorney you can find by contacting the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.