Roadside Work as a DUI Sentence

Roadside work under Caltrans is sometimes assigned as part of a DUI sentence. It involves difficult physical labor.

Caltrans is California’s Department of Transportation. It’s also a common destination for people convicted of DUI and other misdemeanors. Since 1983, the state has allowed judges to send convicts to assist Caltrans with difficult roadside work. It is considered better than jail, but is probably the toughest alternative sentence available.

If you are ordered to do Caltrans roadside work, you will have a limited timeframe in which to serve your sentence. It’s up to you to contact Caltrans and schedule your roadside work days. If they are not complete by the deadline, you’ll be brought back to court and likely sentenced to jail.

A typical day of Caltrans work starts at 6:00 a.m. You will be picked up from a designated location in the city by a CalTrans van. You and the other workers will be transported out to sections of freeway and assigned to do work including:

  • Cleaning up litter and debris
  • Pulling weeds
  • Clearing brush
  • Painting over graffiti

Work is difficult particularly in hot summer weather. You will be given a midday meal and break, then return to work. The work day lasts 8 hours. The total number of days you have to perform is equivalent the number of days in jail you would otherwise receive.

A good lawyer may be able to get you a better form of community service or work release instead of Caltrans work. Or, they may be able to help you avoid conviction altogether.

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