For all of the 30+ years that I have represented clients facing DUI charges, the County of Los Angeles has used a number of jail free alternatives to reduce the severe overcrowding in our jails.
Los Angeles judges and courts struggle to strike a balance between the legal requirements of incarceration for certain DUI cases. Major considerations include issues of public safety, and the increasing demands for space in our jails.
Programs like work-release, which allowsthose convicted of multiple DUI offenses to avoid jail time by working their own jobs during the day and sleeping in a dormitory type setting at night, were always very popular alternative to incarceration. Although used extensively for many years , this program was lost to budget cuts several years ago and never replaced by the County of Los Angeles
Electronic surveillance, although still used by the courts as an alternative sentence to jail, is commonly not approved by many judges and is viewed as not sufficient punishment , since people are allowed electronically monitored freedom to work their jobs and sleep in their own bed at night.
The newest programsSCRAM uses a secured ankle bracelet with a sensor to detect the presence of alcohol being used by the person wearing it
This experimental program is being used by an increasing number of courts in Los Angeles
and is getting good reviews. SCRAM, the latest alternative sentencing program is growing in popularity among judges to punish, supervise and keep the jail space available for the most dangerous people who really need it.