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Can I Go to Rehab Instead of Jail for DUI? Verify Your Choice

In my practice, I’ve observed one can go to rehab instead of jail for DUI (Drive Under the Influence.)

While searching and dealing with this fact, I noticed one of the reports of The Discovery House 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, as far as I am observing. 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. 

William, my friend, was sent to jail because of DUI. But he requested rehab for his addiction, but I thought he might be sent to jail as he broke a public seat while driving after having alcohol. But the court made it easy to get rid of addiction and sent him to rehab. 

And it works like magic. He controlled his triggers, gained coping skills throughout the rehab treatment. He appreciated the chance of rehab for getting a sorted life not an unstable life from jail.

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

An addict worried about going to jail instead of rehab for dui

Understanding DUI Penalties: Know Rules and Regulations

As I faced and noticed as an expert, 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. 

With firsthand experience, I would like to mention your first offense in some states, it may not be considered a crime but a civil violation in Hawaii, Kentucky, and New Hampshire. 

I met with an ambitious boy, Lucas, in Pennsylvania. He wasn’t addicted, but at an office party, he had alcohol. While returning home, he unconsciously hit a traffic light pole. So, the authority charges $300 but no jail for that.

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. I have found that Ohio sentences 3 days to 6-month jail. 

On the other hand, in New York, there is no jail sentence for an initial offense but up to 1 year for further offenses.

  • Around $150- $2000 fine needs to be paid for several offenses. The amount fluctuation 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 16. As a legal driver, the age must be at least 16 in some states, such as Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
  • If you misbehave with the authorities, the penalty may increase- the days of prison and the amount of fine.
  • In many cases, I observed the court may be sentenced to rehab instead of jail for DUI. As here, rehabilitation is more necessary than punishment. 

Elijah came to me in rehab and mentioned he was about to go to jail. He was a high school boy who faced hassles in his life only because of addiction. 

One of his worst experiences was drunk and driving his car in a rush and hitting a car parked on 2nd Street Dorm. So, he needed to give a fine of $400 and attend 4 months of rehab. 

I suggested a proper treatment plan with several behavioral therapies, including CBT, MAT, and group therapies.

But within 3 months he managed to be sober and avoid triggers. So, the court ordered his release.

Factors Considered When Determining DUI Rehab Instead of Jail

From my years of experience, I can say treatment is more essential than punishment. But is it applicable to every case!

Several celebs, including Winona Ryder, Charlie Sheen, David Crosby, Boy George, and Leif Garret, were sent to rehab instead of jail because of violence after using substances. 

Where Charlie Sheen was sent to rehab in 1999 because of a DUI. He was fired from Two and a Half Men TV series only because of his addiction. The court order for rehab for him after a car accident. Even after this time rehab he entered rehab several times with several issues. After the rehab with 12 step meetings, anger management, and learning coping skills, he managed to sober for six years. 

Even several Talk shows opened up the incident with him such as Loose Women, ABC News, Knockin’ Doorz Down and so on.

Source: Loose Women

Determining dui rehab instead of jail

But sometimes, there may be exceptions where punishment is more needed than rehab. 

Some available factors may be taken into account before determining DUI rehab instead of jail-

  1. The court may look back at your criminal history. Do you have any previous record of the case, or is it 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, you may get rehab for several months with some days in prison.

  1. With the test of BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) levels, the stage of your addiction and use of alcohol before the occurrence can be determined. 

And the amount of fines or days of your rehabilitation can also be fixed, depending on this level, as I experienced as an e.

Nora, a friend of my younger brother. He had 2 car accident records because of his addiction. When he came to me, it was his 3rd accident while he was drunk. 

So, this time the court fined him $1K and 1 year of dui rehabilitation instead of jail. That’s why he was there in my rehab. But luckily, he completed his treatment within 8 months successfully.

  1. 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.
  2. Before selecting rehab, the judge may look back to your rehab history (if you have any) and examine the result before confirming the current rehabilitation.
  3. Here. Another thing is your willingness. If you are willing to recover through rehab, then the judge will appreciate it. And send you to rehab treatment instead of jail.
  4. 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.

It saved Nora’s life too. He was a brilliant boy in school. But suddenly with some seniors he started drinking. 

But dui rehabilitation helped him to start a new life as a rising student.

  1. 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.

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-

  • With years of experience and dealing with 100+ addicts with more than 15 DUI cases i must say finish the rehab first. 

Don’t leave your treatment in the middle. I ensure you must achieve something on the last day of rehab. 

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.
  • Rehab is always a wise alternative from my perspective as an expert in this field. Try to avoid all the things that trigger you. And spend your time in rehab efficiently.

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.

People Also Asked

Will Rehab Help My DUI Case?

As an expert, I ensure 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?

Based on my years of experience, I know you can go to rehab with pending charges.

While entering treatment with pending charges might be challenging, it is additionally 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, as far as I know.

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 DUI Rehab instead of Jail?

Yes, you can ask for DuI rehab instead of jail.

Actually, doing this can be wise when you are dealing with addiction-related charges. Entering treatment might demonstrate in court that you’re willing to seek treatment 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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