DUI and DWAI are punishable by jail time. In some situations, jail time is mandatory and must be served as actual jail time. In other situations, jail time is mandatory, but may be served in other forms.
Not every form of alternative sentencing is available in every case. Whether you are eligible for a particular type of sentence depends on the nature of the charges, whether you have any prior convictions, the age of any prior convictions, and the county in which your case is handled. Under no circumstances is a person entitled to alternative sentencing, so persuasive negotiation with the prosecution and appropriate sentencing argument for the judge is important.
Alternative sentencing includes:
- In-home detention
- Weekender program
- Work release
- Day reporting
- Multiple Offender Programs
- Arapahoe Diverts Mentally Ill to Treatment (ADMIT)
- Specialty Courts
In-home detention is an alternative to a jail sentence. In-home detention allows you to stay in your home during your sentence. You are allowed to continue work, go to school, attend doctor appointments and attend sentencing requirements, but your ability to participate in other activities is limited. Because you will have to wear a monitor while serving an in-home detention sentence, there is a daily cost associated with this type of sentence. The cost varies depending on the agency used to provide the monitor and whether you use a land line or a cell phone to support the device.
The weekender program allows you to serve your jail sentence in two-day increments rather than serving the whole sentence at one time. For example, if you are sentenced to 10 days of jail, you may be able to serve five weekends. Weekends are not necessarily limited to Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are generally classified as any two consecutive days, but this is dependent on the county in which the sentence is to be served. There is a cost associated with participating in the weekender program and you must be approved for the program by the jail.
Work release operates out of the jail. It allows you to work and or attend school during the day, but requires you to return to the jail at night. Judges and prosecutors can approve work release, but the jail gives final approval. Most jails use set guidelines to determine whether a person qualifies for the program, so in most instances, it is possible for a person to know ahead of time if he or she will qualify. Generally, you must be full time employed and/or be enrolled in school before beginning your sentence. There is a cost associated with participating in the work release program.
Day reporting allows you to report to the jail during the day, but go home in the evening. Not all counties offer day reporting.
Some counties have programs for individuals who have multiple convictions for alcohol and/or drug-related driving offenses. This program can be an option for people who receive lengthy jail sentences. These programs are run out of the jail and generally involve a multi-phase approach. A person begins treatment while at the jail and will graduate to in-home detention so long as the person is completing treatment appropriately while in jail. These programs are vigorous and geared toward individuals who are motivated to participate in and successfully complete treatment. There is a cost associated with these programs.
The benefit of these programs is the possibility of a shorter jail sentence if a person is amenable to treatment and motivated to comply with treatment expectations. Not every county offers these programs, but if you are interested in exploring this option, our attorneys will be able to discuss whether you may be eligible for this type of alternative.
Arapahoe County has paired with Aurora Mental Health to develop a program for people who have been diagnosed with a major mental health issue. The program is a multi-phase program. A person begins his or her sentence in jail and over time is moved to ADMIT housing and/or his or her own home with certain requirements. Along with treatment, the ADMIT program helps people find housing and employment and offers a GED program.
Some jurisdictions have specialty drug and sobriety courts. These courts are for repeat offenders. Cases assigned to these courts move through the system at a fast pace in order to get people into treatment as quickly as possible. Participation in these courts is voluntary. Participation requires frequent court reviews, home checks and intense treatment services. While these courts may allow you to avoid a lengthy jail sentence, it is important to understand that non-compliance with the program may result in severe sanctions, so agreeing to have your case handled in these courts is not a decision to be made lightly. Before agreeing to a participate, you should know the program expectations. If a specialty court option has already been offered to you or if you are interested in that possibility, our attorneys can explain which counties offer specialty court tracking and discuss whether this alternative is an appropriate option for you.