If you have been stopped by police and charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) offense, you may be wondering whether seeking professional treatment will help. Before you make a decision about when and where to seek help for substance abuse, your best bet is to get some professional advice first.
Advice About DUI and Alcohol Treatment
An impaired driving charge can carry serious consequences. In this situation, you don’t want to rely on what have gleaned from watching crime shows on television or what a friend or family member in a similar circumstance experienced. Contact an experienced attorney for advice.
A DUI lawyer will be able to look at the facts of your case and offer advice that applies specifically to you. If you have been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, the judge may order you to seek alcohol and drug treatment as part of your sentence. You may need to complete an alcohol education program to have your driving privileges restored once the terms of any sentence have been completed.
Your attorney’s job is to get the best possible outcome. This may mean negotiating with the prosecutor so that you go into an alcohol treatment program instead of having to serve a jail sentence or it could lead to a reduction of time in custody.
Factors that Determine DUI Sentencing
In determining an appropriate sentence for a DUI offense, a judge weighs the facts of the case carefully. Several factors are considered, including the following:
- Whether you have ever been convicted of a similar offense before (Penalties increase for subsequent convictions)
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time you were arrested
- Age at the time of the offense is a factor if you were under 21. Tennessee has laws prohibiting possession of alcohol for minors and special penalties for youth convicted of impaired driving such as loss of driving privileges, fines, and community service.
- If the incident produced any injuries, fatalities, or property damage
When Alcohol Treatment May be Ordered
The court may order someone who has been found guilty of a DUI to undergo professional alcohol treatment after a verdict has been reached and before a sentence is determined. If you are in this situation, the judge will receive reports from the treatment center about your response to treatment. Your best option is to cooperate with the treatment program and get the most out of the strategies being presented. The court will be taking note of your willingness to accept responsibility for your actions and make a positive change in your life. It can make the difference between receiving probation, a suspended sentence, or being sent to jail.
Administrative License Suspension and DUI
Once the criminal charges have been dealt with and you have completed the requirements for the penalty the court hands down, driving privileges aren’t automatically reinstated. In Tennessee, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for one year for a first offense and two years for a second one. If you are convicted for DUI a third time, you won’t be able to drive for between three and 10 years.
To get driving privileges reinstated, you may be required to attend an alcohol education program. Depending on whether you a prior conviction for DUI, you may have to attend a 12-hour program over a couple of days or you may also need to seek alcohol treatment in a state-approved program.
Can Seeking Treatment Help with DUI?
If you have been charged with DUI, it is probably a sign that you should take a good look at your alcohol consumption habits. A DUI, especially one that is related to binge drinking, suggests you may be suffering from a substance use disorder that could be affecting your health as well as causing legal problems.
Seeking alcohol treatment can help with the DUI charges; however, you’ll want to seek expert legal advice first. Your lawyer will let you know whether it’s to your benefit to seek inpatient alcohol treatment at a treatment center like English Mountain Recovery before your case goes to trial.