With DUI conviction rates spanning anywhere from 60 to 95 percent throughout the United States, you can't afford to let the chips fall where they may if you want to stay out of jail. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to minimize your chances of facing punishment that involves jail time. Taking the right steps will also help ensure that you don't end up facing another DUI later down the line. Here are six things to get started on:
Get Involved in the Community
Taking the time to give back to your community is a great way to show your commitment to making a positive change in your life. Get involved in a way that helps promote sober driving – here are a few options to consider:
- Talk to teens at high schools about the dangers of drunk driving.
- Help community programs put together flyers, banners, and brochures about drunk driving.
- Volunteer at driving schools and participate in their safe driving lectures.
You don't have to do anything more than share your own personal story with others to make a difference. The key is to choose a setting that makes you feel comfortable and rewarded.
Write a Personalized Letter
In order to make sure that the judge has a clear understanding of your commitment to drive safely and avoid future DUI charges if your case should end up in court, it's a good idea to write a personalized handwritten letter. Your letter should include:
- The acknowledgement for the reason you've been charged.
- A plan to avoid driving while under the influence in the future.
- A sincere apology for your actions.
Make copies of your letter so you, your criminal defense lawyer, and the prosecuting attorney can all have access to it at any given time.
Enroll in a Safe Driving Class
Another positive way to show your commitment to safe driving is to enroll in a safe driving program. Not only will this show the judge that you want to be a responsible driver, but it will also help you polish up on your defensive driving skills to increase your chances of avoiding accidents of all kinds. Whether you choose a two-day class or one that goes on for months, any program participation will lead to positive results.
Install an Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device may very well be a stipulation of your sentencing, but if you take the initiative to install one before heading to court you'll show the judge that you are not afraid of proving your trustworthiness, and you'll more likely receive a shorter sentence for using the device if the judge ends up deciding to make it a stipulation.
An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that's installed on your dashboard and attached to your motor. To start the engine, you have to exhale into the device to test your blood alcohol levels. If the device detects that you have been drinking, your vehicle simply won't start. After passing the test, you can start the vehicle as usual. The test takes only seconds, so unless you plan on drinking and driving, using an ignition interlock device on your own recognizance shouldn't be much of an inconvenience in your life.
Tap into a Sobriety Program
Choosing to get involved with a sobriety program will support your commitment to sober driving, and give you the tools and resources you need to ensure your success. And getting involved with programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Sober Recovery, and SMART Recovery early will increase your chance of avoiding mandated participation.
Have a facilitator sign off on each meeting you attend whether online or off so that your participation can be verified.
You don't have to necessarily take all of these steps to make a positive impact on your case, but the more you incorporate the better chances you are sure to have of a favorable outcome.