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Alternative Sentencing Options for DUI Offenders in Tempe

Posted on October 17, 2023 in DUI,DUI Consequences

Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Tempe, Arizona can come with serious consequences. While the penalties vary depending on the circumstances, prosecutors frequently seek jail and prison time for offenders. A DUI defense attorney can help by pushing for alternative sentencing options during your case, such as drug or alcohol screening.

What Is an Alternative Sentence?

An alternative sentence provides another option instead of jail time to encourage reform rather than punishment alone. It is an option that may be available to low-level offenders, such as first-time misdemeanor drunk drivers, in Tempe. Although a jail sentence is mandatory in Arizona for all DUI offenders, state law allows the courts to reduce or pardon jail time in some situations.  

For example, a first-time DUI offender will be given a mandatory sentence of at least 10 days in jail, but 9 of the days may be suspended if the defendant cooperates with a drug or alcohol screening program. In some cases, an entire DUI sentence may be vacated for an alternative sentence. In other cases, part of the jail sentence must still be served but the remainder can be alternated.

What Are Alternative Sentencing Options for a DUI Offender in Arizona?

In Tempe and throughout Maricopa County, alternative sentencing may be available to DUI offenders who the Attorney’s Office believes would benefit from a diversion program rather than a traditional jail sentence. An alternative sentence may be preferred to treat the underlying problem, such as a dependency on drugs or alcohol.

Potential alternative sentencing options include: 

  • Community service: restitution in the form of a required number of hours spent serving the community for free (volunteer work) may be an acceptable alternative in some DUI cases.
  • Home detention with a monitoring bracelet: after at least 20 percent of a sentence is completed, an individual may qualify for serving the remainder in home detention. In most cases, this will involve the use of an ankle monitoring bracelet to ensure the individual stays in permitted areas.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, counseling or screening: if the courts believe an offender could benefit from a treatment program to overcome a substance abuse disorder or mental health condition, this may be an acceptable alternative to jail time.
  • Continuous alcohol monitoring: most individuals who are eligible for alternative sentencing options must agree not to use drugs or alcohol throughout the completion of the sentence. This will be checked through continuous alcohol monitoring, both at scheduled and random dates.
  • Work release and work furlough options: work programs may be available to allow an offender to work outside of jail, such as work release programs that allow an inmate to go to work for a certain number of hours per day before reporting back to jail.

 If an individual does not properly complete an assigned diversion program or violates other terms of probation while participating, the original sentence will most likely be reinstated. This frequently means the individual is sent back to jail or prison to carry out the remainder of his or her sentence.

Who Is Eligible for Alternative DUI Sentencing?

For the most part, alternative sentencing is only available to first-time or low-level DUI offenders in Tempe. An individual who has existing DUIs on his or her record or a history of violent crime will not be eligible for an alternative to jail or prison. In addition, people who are found guilty of felony or aggravated DUIs in Tempe will not qualify for alternative sentencing. In general, anyone with a record of violent conduct or who potentially poses a risk to himself/herself or others will not qualify.

If you or a loved one was recently arrested for driving under the influence in Tempe, contact with a DUI defense lawyer in Tempe at Rosenstein Law Group for legal advice. Our attorneys may be able to fight for an alternative sentence on your behalf.

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