Many of our clients that come into our office are worried about having to serve a jail sentence when they have been charged with a DUI. Their ultimate goal in hiring a legal professional is to ensure that they do not have to serve any jail time.
First off, just because a person has been arrested for a DUI, does not mean they have been convicted, or will be sentenced at all. An arrest simply means that an officer had probable cause to believe that the person who was arrested could have been driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is just a suspicion, or a belief so to speak. A person cannot be convicted for a DUI until they have been found guilty of a DUI.
In order for a person, to be found guilty of a DUI, they have to enter a plea of guilty. The plea must be entered voluntarily, and freely. The person may also be found guilty through trial. However, for a person to be found guilty it must be found by a Jury or a Judge that it was beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was found driving, and it was beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was intoxicated while driving.
It is only after a person has been found guilty, or has pled guilty that the court will consider possible sentences. The sentence will depend on several factors, including the criminal background of the client being charged, and the facts of the case. If the facts of the case are egregious, or aggravated, by lets say an exceptionally high blood alcohol level then the court may consider jail time. Additionally, if it is a second or third offense, or even higher, then the court may want to consider jail time.
In any case, sentencing is done on a sliding scale. There is a range specified by the Penal Code and the Judge will take all factors into consideration before issuing a sentence. This is why it is extremely important to seek the help of a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. They have experience in making effective argument and presented strong defenses. They also have the experience and knowledge to ensure that your sentence is kept at the minimum end of the scale, this includes avoiding any jail time.
In the event that a Judge wants to issue jail time, an attorney can present a case that an alternative to jail time will be a better option. This includes private weekend jail, house arrest, or even restricted vehicle access. If you find yourself in this situation, it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional as soon as possible.