Sentencing Alternatives in New Jersey

gavelIf you or someone close to you has been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you need to contact a skilled New Jersey attorney who understands this area of the law. If convicted, drivers face stiff penalties, such as fines and fees, jail time, and license suspension. In New Jersey, however, jail does not always automatically mean you will actually serve time in jail. There are alternatives to serving time in county jail on first and second offenses.

Alternative sentencing is intended to provide the defendant with rehabilitation, as opposed to punishment. As a practical matter, sentencing alternatives allow individuals to keep their jobs and seek treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, if necessary. Alternative sentencing will vary depending on the circumstances of the case, as well as the judge on the case.

As mentioned above, for first and second offenses, alternative sentencing would allow jail time to be exchanged hour-for-hour for electronic monitoring, which is often known as “house arrest.” This means that the convicted driver may be permitted to serve all or part of the sentence on an electronic monitoring program. This allows the defendant to work, attend alcohol education classes, tend to their familial duties, and carry on with their day-to-day life. An ankle bracelet not only monitors location but also can detect alcohol consumption by monitoring excretions from the skin.

Another alternative sentencing option is an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program. The defendant’s lawyer must ask the court to sentence the driver to rehabilitation rather than jail by convincing the judge that rehabilitation is something that the defendant needs. Time spent in a rehabilitation facility can count as time spent in jail. The driver is required to successfully finish the program and receive credit in order for it to count toward jail time.

Working in an approved community service program can also be a substitute for jail time. In New Jersey, one such example is the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP), and the court may permit a defendant to serve up to 90 days of jail time on SLAP. The program typically requires a moderate level of manual labor. Defendants are required to serve at least one day a week until their sentence is complete and pay all the fees associated with partaking in the program.

The alternative sentencing options listed above are only a few examples of options available to first- and second-time offenders and are not an exhaustive list. It is important to note that for third-time DWI offenses, jail time means jail time, and it cannot be avoided. The sentence is 180 days with no parole. Up to 90 days of those 180 days can be spent in an approved inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

If you have been arrested for a DWI, it is imperative to get in touch with a reputable and experienced New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as you can. Time is of the essence in these cases, so it is important not to waste any time. At our firm, we can thoroughly review the facts of your case and determine whether alternative sentencing may be an option for you. You can trust that we will try our best to get you a favorable outcome. For more information, you can reach us by phone at 877-450-8301, or you can contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

DWI Trials in New Jersey

Vehicular Homicide and Drunk Driving in New Jersey