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Can I Go to Rehab Instead of Jail for DUI? Exploring Your Options

Yes, you can go to rehab instead of jail for DUI (Drive Under the Influence.)

A report shows that around 1 in 3 Americans are involved in DUI accidents once in their life cycle. You can identify how extreme the fact is! But the good news is you may not be locked up in jail if the court orders for rehabilitation.

DUI rehab instead of jail is a common factor currently. It allows and helps to overcome your addiction. But it may vary from state to state, the stage of your addiction, and the severity of your accident.

One of my friends was sent to rehab for his addiction but we were thinking he might be sent to jail as he broke a public seat while driving after having alcohol. But the court made his way easy to get rid of from addiction and sent to rehab.

Explore the blog to know details, purpose, benefits, penalties,  factors, and more about DUI.

Understanding DUI Penalties

Penalties may vary from state to state, the level of intoxication, the type and severity of the harm, the number of times of that incident, and many more. 

If it’s your first offense then in some states it may not be considered a crime but a civil violation including Hawaii, Kentucky, and New Hampshire. But on the other hand, in some states such as Alexa, Texas, and Ohio here the penalty for the first offense applies with several days of jail to fines and may enhance with the number of offenses. Also includes-

  • Jail minimum 1 day to 1 year. It may vary from state to state. Suppose Ohio sentences 3 days to 6-month jail. On the other hand in New York, there is no jail sentencing for an initial offense but up to 1 year for further offenses.
  • Around $150- $2000 fine needs to be paid for several offenses. The fluctuation of the amount may vary from state to state, damage of the accident, and many more. Suppose New Jersey charges $250 – $500 for the first offense depending on the level of intoxication and impact of the accident.
  • Your license can be suspended from a minimum of 30 days to 1 year accordingly.
  • Penalties may be minor if you are above 21. As a legal driver age must be at least 21 in some states.
  • If you misbehave with the authorities then the penalty may increase- it can be the days of prison, amount of fine.
  • In some cases, the court may be sentenced to rehab instead of jail for DUI. As here, rehabilitation is more necessary here than punishment. That’s why my friend got a chance for rehabilitation.

The Purpose and Benefits of DUI Rehab

DUI rehab not only improves you but also protects you from further occurrences. Make you realize your fault through treatment, not punishment. That may include-

Joining a DUI rehabilitation can help your legal case in several situations. Firstly, it indicates to the court showing you’re willing to seek assistance along with that you take responsibility for your acts. The judge may be kinder to grant you a shorter prison as a result. 

Secondly, DUI rehabilitation could give you the knowledge and abilities you require to maintain sobriety in the future. That may assist in lowering your risk of criminal behavior, something judges also take into account while determining your sentence.

DUI treatment instead of jail also helps to reduce the chance of relapse of the addiction by eliminating the issues that trigger it. Also, improve mental as well physical health. Additionally, sessions and treatments in rehab also help to create a better mindset.

If it’s your first offense, then in some states you may not get to jail. You may only be sent for some probation and detoxification periods. And the period of prison and fine are significantly lower than further offenses.

On the other hand, for multiple offenses, there are at least 52 hours of group counseling including 18 months of rehab treatment and several fines and prison. But the days and amount of fine may be reduced by the communicative and effective performance and improvement of you while in rehab. 

But felony DUI is the extreme one. DUI is considered a felony if you offense 4 times within 10 years. Here both treatment and punishment are required. 

Factors Considered When Determining Rehab Instead of Jail

Treatment is more essential than punishment. But is it applicable for every case! Sometimes there may be some exceptions where punishment is more important than rehab. There are some available factors, that may take into account before determining DUI rehab instead of jail-

  1. The court may look back at your criminal history. As if you have any previous record of this type of case or its your initial one. If it’s your initial one then there is a high chance of getting only some hours of counseling but if the number of offenses is remarkable then you may get rehab for several months with some days in prison.
  2. With the test of BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) levels the stage of your addiction or use of alcohol before the occurrence can be determined. And the amount of fine or days of your rehabilitation can also be fixed depending on this level.
  3. Another one is the severity of the harm or damage. It’s one of the main points that should be counted. And it helps the judge to select if jail is needed for you or rehab.
  4. Before selecting rehab, the judge may look back to your rehab history (if you have any) and examine the result before selecting the current rehabilitation.
  5. Here. Another thing is your willingness. If you are willing enough to recover through rehab then the judge will appreciate you and send you to rehab treatment instead of jail.
  6. Court also thinks about your career and social life. Jail may become an obstacle to your further steps. So, they select rehab to improve you.
  7. Find out the available programs and treatments in rehab and cross match as if the treatment is suitable for you and help to recover your addiction.

Recommending Education Programs like MADD Victim Impact Panel

Not only jail or rehab but also there are some available programs and courses that help to get rid of addiction. There may include AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, screening tests, coping skill development programs, anti-SUD programs, and many more. Depending on the severity of your addiction the number of treatments is selected.

On the other hand, Victim Impact Panels are a combined program that allows you to share the story of your crime and the personal experience of the victim. Then regarding this, they make you understand your crime and support the victim as well as encourage you to take responsibility for it. 

And here another sector of VIPs is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Which deals with drunk driving victims, the family of the victims, and the offenders. And deal with both sides to end up with an effective decision.

Even judges use these seminars for making both the offender and victim understand the severity of the consequence.

Exploring Additional Alternatives Instead of Jail Time

four additional tools are explained shortly for an addict that he or she can apply in life instead of jail

There are a lot of options instead of jail time. Jail time isn’t the only option for self-improvement.
Other options can be-

  • Community service may include day reporting centers, sessions, probation periods, detoxification, and many more. To track the current situation and stage of addiction. It may be defined as a home arrest.
  • Electronic monitoring with devices like SCRAM ankle monitors such as SCRAM bracelets, and sober living environments. That helps to know your location and the things you are doing.
  • With the help of SCRAM devices, the judge may know if you are taking drugs or doing any unusual behavior. My friend crossed this stage too.
  • A court can order that a DUI offender spend a portion of the sentencing such as 6 months to 1 year in a sober living program. When you have a record of using drugs or when the DUI is severe, this is most frequently undertaken. 

Taking Action – Timing Matters for Rehab Enrollment

There is a proverb that “Time is the wisest counselor of all.” It’s applicable for rehab too. If you take so much time to think, you may fall behind. So you can-

  • Search for DUI treatments that are available for you immediately. Try to find it before you are arrested by the authorities. As if you are in rehab then police won’t take you to jail as they respect your treatment more than your punishment.
  • Spend minimal time in jail if you are arrested. Then start rehab. And that also may occur if the harm caused by you is extreme or if it’s you multiple offenses.
  • Try to avoid all the things that trigger you. And spend your time in rehab efficiently.

People Also Asked

Will rehab help my DUI case?

Yes, rehab will help your DUI case.
In several instances, that may help escape going to prison, shorten the period of giving up your driving license along with paying fewer penalties. According to the seriousness of your DUI case, and past convictions – the exact advantages of dui rehabilitation can vary. 

Still, generally speaking, entering a rehabilitation center demonstrates to the judge how much you are dedicated to receiving treatment and that you are treating your DUI conviction properly. That may also help your case.

Can you go to rehab with pending charges?

Yes, you can go to rehab with pending charges.
While entering treatment with pending charges might be challenging, it is additionally extremely beneficial. Rehabilitation may offer you all the resources that you require to overcome intoxication and keep up sobriety. It can even help you increase the chances that your court case will end well.

Does rehab count as time served?

Yes, rehab counts as time served.
However, certain elements may impact how much the rehabilitation period may meet the criteria. That includes- the type of treatment, the seriousness of the offense, the number of the offenses, the willingness of treatment, history, and many more.

The decision is up to the judge if they count the time served or not. And the mentioned points are also influenced while making a decision.

Will rehab help my court case?

Yes, rehab will help your court case.
If you can show enough interest in rehab to get back into normal life then the judge must consider it. And if you complete your rehab successfully and take part in every session, there are high chances of your prison reduction.

Can I ask for rehab instead of jail?

Yes, you can ask for rehab instead of jail.
Actually, doing this can be wise especially when you are dealing with addiction-related charges. Entering treatment might demonstrate in court that you’re willing to seek treatment along with that you are accepting responsibility for your conduct. The judge may be inclined to grant a reduced sentence as a result.

DUI rehab instead of jail is a lifesaver for any addict, which has many benefits and purposes to help his mistakes to come to the right path. Moreover, some factors determine whether you should go to rehab or jail. This blog also mentions many programs like VIPs that provide support to victims as well as offenders.

Tony McKenzie
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