Interviewer: Can you discuss alternative programs and diversion programs and their benefits?
Organizations Do Pressure Legislators to Continue with Mandatory Penalties for DUIs
Paul Geller: DUIs are a very heavily legislated area of law and because of that and the pressures that Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other organizations have put on the legislator in passing some minimum terms of punishment, it’s very difficult to use the diversion or other types classes or treatments as an alternative to punishment for a DUI.
People with Addiction Problems May be Eligible to Serve Time in a Treatment Facility Instead of Jail or Prison
Having said that, there are some exceptions where, and it’s typically on more egregious types of cases or persons with much more severe addiction problems, the person can serve time in rehabilitative facilities and receive what we call custody credit.
Alternative Programs Are Not Utilized by Attorneys Unfamiliar with Custody Credit and This Can Be another Benefit of Retaining an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney
So if a person was ordered to typically serve 6 months in jail or 30 days in jail, perhaps we come up with an alternative and few lawyers are very familiar with this. I am familiar with this and have utilized it in the past, but there are exceptions in the criminal penal code that indicate rehabilitative facilities can be used as an alternative to custody credit.
So a lot of the time I will have my client in these types of circumstances try to get into one of these facilities, again depending on the nature of the case and if actually court-ordered, both for the benefit of the client because they need it and to help us in the way in which we dispose of the criminal court case.
There are some procedural things that need to be done, that I am very familiar with, in order to allow for the custody credit to be imposed. So any time someone has a much more severe addiction problem and we are going to use a rehabilitative type facility, it’s important that the lawyer know legally how to make that happen.
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