How long can you go to jail for a DUI?
A common fear for people accused of DUI is being sent to jail if they're convicted, and with good reason. I mean, even with an excellent defense, it's still a crime; and even if it's your first time, a judge could always have the discretion to send you away, even if only for 10 or 20 days. I take that very seriously. Even just 10 or 20 days can affect your life— can you afford to miss work or school for that long? Employers and professors typically aren’t very forgiving when you explain that you have to be absent because you’re going to be in jail. Do you have someone reliable to care for your family, your pets, your home while you’re away? 10 or 20 days may not seem like long in the grand scheme of jail sentences, but it’s still a long enough period of time that it can take major parts of your life, like your job, your grades, or your children, and really wreak havoc on your lifestyle. Obviously, my objective is to make sure we avoid a conviction and avoid jail at all costs. There's a careful balance and analysis of risk that needs to go into any case.
How strong are our defenses? How confident are we that we could prevail? Even if we don't prevail, how confident are we that we could present sufficient mitigating evidence to explain to the judge why jail time is not appropriate as a punishment? We’re completely confident in our ability to defend your case, but we would be remiss if we didn’t consider the possibility of not prevailing and planning how to mitigate those consequences so you can go on living your life as normally as possible.
These are all things that you need to talk about with your lawyer, if you really want to go into this case with your eyes open and with realistic knowledge of the consequences. I talk about this with my clients routinely at every step of the way, because a good lawyer doesn’t just defend you: they empower you, by giving you all the facts and helping you to make the best decision for yourself. Because the decision to go to trial or the decision to enter a guilty plea should not be done without first carefully considering all of the potential ramifications.
Although jail is the primary consideration of most people's worst fear for, “What happens if I get convicted of a DUI?” there are so many other potential consequences that it's critical you speak with a lawyer who knows about them, who has the experience not just with DUI cases but with judges from all over the state. Different jurisdictions handle things differently. It would really be to your benefit to contact someone like me, someone who can sit down with you, really understand your situation, and say, "Hey, given all of your unique circumstances, my wealth of experience tells me this is what the likelihood of this is.” If you’re looking at DUI charges and want to not only have an experienced attorney at your back but also be empowered to make the best decisions for your own interests, get in touch with us— we’d love to help