After a person is properly convicted of DUI, they face sentencing. Whether a person plead guilty, made a plea bargain, or was found guilty of DUI by a jury, they must face sentencing. The range of punishment a judge or jury may impose for DUI may include one or all of the following:
- Community service
- Drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs
- Suspended sentence, where full original conditions of fines and jail time will apply if conditions are violated
- Short term jail time
- Long-term incarceration, if the DUI seriously injured or killed someone
When Does Sentencing Usually Take Place?
Most sentencing is done immediately after a final disposition of the DUI charges. Thus, if someone accused of DUI takes a plea deal, they will be sentenced immediately. After a full trial, it is not uncommon for sentencing to be a separate procedure, usually held many weeks after a conviction.
How Is the Appropriate Sentence Determined?
Prosecutors and defense attorneys will typically engage in arguments to determine the length and severity of the punishment. Sentencing judges will be guided by statutory limitations set forth in a state's Vehicle and Penal Codes. Judges may also consider the following in some cases:
- Previous DUI record and criminal history
- Impact of the DUI on any victims, such as death or injury
- Defendant's personal, economic, and social circumstances
- If the convicted has a stellar work record, a solid family history, and is solid contributing member of the community, the punishment may be positively affected
- Regret or remorse expressed by the defendant
- If the convicted impresses upon the judge something special when he reads his personal statement before official sentencing, punishment may be reduced
Should I Contact a Lawyer regarding DUI Sentencing?
It is always wise to have a criminal defense attorney with you throughout the DUI process. Additionally, if you feel that you have had your rights violated in that you received an overly severe punishment for your DUI conviction, you may also want to contact a lawyer familiar with constitutional litigation.