Alternative Sentencing: Community Service

Published: 08th June 2006
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Alternative Sentencing:

Community Service

Where the court has the ability to sentence the DUI offender to a term of incarceration in the county jail, the court may choose to allow the defendant to serve the hours that would have been spent in county jail instead on community service. Community service is a special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to work–without pay–for a civic or nonprofit organization. Performing community service has many benefits. The tax payers save money by not paying for the DUI offender to be incarcerated in an already overburdened and overpopulated jail. Society benefits because of the contribution to community service programs. Finally, the DUI offender benefits because he or she avoids incarceration and is able to continue living at home while contributing to an approved community service program. It is well-established that incarceration does not rehabilitate the DUI offender and does not decrease recidivism.

There are many creative possibilities in the type of community service that the DUI offender performs. If the person has a particular skill, then that skill may be highly valued by local agencies. For example, if the person is a plumber, electrician, carpenter, dentist, doctor, etc., local agencies would be more than happy to accommodate community service hours to be utilized by the defendant in exchange for the hours that would have otherwise been spent in the county jail. Even if the person does not possess these specific skills, other community service options abound. For example, at the Red Cross, Salvation Army, YMCA, the local animal shelter, and other charitable organizations that needs volunteers.

Community service will allow the DUI offender to get good time/work time custody credits for every hour spent contributing to a community service program. These hours will be applied to the amount of time that would have otherwise been spent sitting in a county jail.

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