Community service is sometimes given as part of a DUI sentence. It can be given in addition to jail time or instead of jail time.
In Los Angeles it’s common for DUI sentences to include community service. This is simply work you do that benefits the community at large. It is seen as a way of “giving back” to the community after having committed a crime. There are two ways community service can work:
- A judge may waive your jail sentence on the condition that you complete a set number of hours of community service. If you do the work, you don’t go to jail. This is similar to a work release.
- The judge may simply use community service as a penalty in its own right.
The amount of community service you have to do varies. It can be anywhere from 24 to 50 hours for a first time offender to 200 hours or more for a repeat offender. All hours must be recorded and supervised by a probation officer. Work that isn’t supervised and recorded doesn’t count.
The type of work you do also varies. In a DUI case, it may include:
- Volunteering for a DUI victims’ rights group
- Volunteering for a charity, such as working in a soup kitchen
- Speaking about the dangers of drunk driving at an educational program
- Cleaning local parks
- Doing roadside work for the State of California
Experienced DUI lawyers often see if they can negotiate community service instead of jail. This can make a DUI far easier to bear. Ask your lawyer if this is possible in your case.
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