If you get a DUI citation for the first time, you will likely receive a light penalty. However, the judge who decides your penalty reserves the right to sentence you for jail time. The jail time for first-time DUI in South Carolina can range from 48 hours all the way to 90 days. The actual jail time depends on factors like your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), community standing and general behavior.
Jail time puts a smudge on your record. It stays on your criminal record for years and can affect you financial and social prospects.
The good news is that you can seek court-ordered rehabilitation instead of jail time. This is an option which offers many benefits and can also help you overcome drug or alcohol abuse.
In most cases, the court stipulates a DUI offender to enroll in a 24-hour rehab program. The duration of the program depends on the unique circumstances of your case. It can range from a few days to a month or even a year. The court may let you choose a rehab center of your choice or make that decision on its own.
Benefits of rehab over jail time
There are many crucial benefits of joining rehab instead of jail time after a DUI offense. For a start, it clears up your criminal record in most cases.
The lookback period in South Carolina is 10 years. This means the DUI offense remains on your record for a decade. When you undergo and successfully complete court-mandated rehab, the court clears your record in most cases. This means that you DUI citation is no longer visible for any future inquiries.
If you undergo jail time, your criminal record is marred for a long time. The citation significantly affects your insurance standing. You may also face difficulties in getting job or securing a house as anyone can look up your record and see the citation.
How do I qualify for rehab instead of jail?
The first requirement is a willingness to overcome your drug or alcohol abuse. If you have a good community standing, the judge is more likely to look favorably on your case. Even if you have previous DUI citations, you can please addiction problems and request rehabilitation.
If this is your second, third or fourth DUI offense, a judge may consider the possibility that you have addiction problem. This can sway the judge and prosecution to order rehabilitation time for you.
In any case, you can qualify for rehab time if the judge genuinely thinks that this could help you avoid future DUI instances. This is why it is important for you to demonstrate a willingness to improve your habits.
How can a DUI attorney help?
As mentioned above, the judge and the prosecution need to be convinced that rehabilitation can actually help you. A qualified DUI attorney can be very effective in achieving this. An attorney can find ways to present your community standing in the best possible light without altering facts. The attorney can also negotiate on your behalf to have you enrolled at a rehab center that is suitable for you.
It is important to be able to negotiate a no-conviction by seeking the rehab option. If you are able to avoid a conviction, your criminal record will remain clear of the DUI citations. This has many advantages. For a start, it portrays you as a more law-abiding citizen. It also saves you from unnecessary financial stress such as higher premiums for your auto insurance policy.
Finding a DUI attorney for court-ordered rehab
It is important to hire a DUI lawyer after you receive a DUI citation. Here at the Bateman Firm, our attorneys have many years of experience in working with DUI drivers. If you’ve been flagged for DUI, it is still possible to avoid the steep consequences of a conviction.
Our attorneys will work closely with you to review the details of your case and see if there were any lapses of judgment. This includes reviewing the breathalyzer test and analysis, the conduct of the arresting officer and so on. Any DUI citation must follow certain requirements, both on your part and on the part of the officer. If these are not met, your attorney can plead for no-conviction.
If the plea does not work, the attorney can consult the judge for a rehab request. This shows the law that you are willing to make amends if there were any mistakes on your part. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your DUI case and to seek court-ordered rehab.