Facing Jail time in Washington? There Are Alternatives

It’s always nerve wracking to be accused of a crime. But what about those crimes, such as DUI, where you could potentially spend a year in jail? That can be harrowing. Some crimes, if you are convicted, even have the likelihood of a year or more in prison. If you’re like most people you’re hoping to get your charges dismissed or a not guilty verdict. That’s the best alternative to jail – no jail at all.

The primary goal of your defense attorney will be to get your charges dropped or reduced or get you a not guilty verdict. But, while we will get you your best result possible, none of those results can be guaranteed. So, what if the worst happens and you’re facing jail time? If you’re like many people, you are now worried about your job. Most employers will not hold a job for lengthy periods and if you’re self-employed most clients will not sit around waiting. Now you’re wondering, “Are there any alternatives to spending all that time in jail? Jail would really complicate my life!” Though no guarantees can be made, there are possibilities to look into. Any of these that you would consider you should, of course, want to discuss with your defense attorney.

If work is your main consideration you may want to look into the possibility of work release. This is a partial confinement program. You will be in a corrections facility but will be allowed to leave for your work hours. There are a few eligibility requirements. First, it’s not available in all jurisdictions. For example, Seattle has it available but Kirkland does not so you will want to make sure it’s available in your jurisdiction. Next you will be required to have regular hours – so if you have a swing or graveyard shift you may want to see if you can get that changed. Lastly, your job will need to be with 45 miles of whatever facility you’re staying in and you will pay a $15 per day fine for the right to go to work. If you’re self-employed that will not necessarily disqualify but you may need to provide documentation of your work. So, as you can see, there are a few hurdles but it may be a great alternative for you to keep you employed.

But what if work is not your only concern? Maybe you also don’t want to lose the time you’re your family. You may want to look into electronic home monitoring. This is the program where you wear an ankle bracelet and can stay at home. You will be required to stay there except for certain hours such as work. If this is due to a DUI it may be connected to a breathalyzer that will randomly test you. This alternative can get expensive as you are required to rent the equipment and pay the monitoring fees. But it would allow you to have a home life and retain your job. It may be the alternative you’re looking for.

Do these sound too restrictive? It may be possible to request community service or a treatment program in lieu of jail time. The latter option may be an option if the charge is a DUI. There are some treatment programs that are court approved. You would be responsible for the cost as well as providing all necessary documentation to the court. If you are able to get community service you will want to make sure you’re volunteering at an organization that benefits the community at large. Plus, keep in mind that some courts have specific organizations that they will allow you to volunteer for. In either case, you will want to discuss all requirements with your defense attorney to make sure you’re in compliance.

If this was for a DUI and you believe you have an alcohol or drug problem you may want to look into a deferred prosecution. Realize that this is a large undertaking of a two year treatment and counseling program, five years probation with many rules and deadlines. Again you will want to make sure with your Seattle Tacoma defense attorney that you fully understand what it takes to stay in compliance.

Lastly, there is an option that doesn’t really get rid of any jail time but may make your life easier.  Just like anything else, some jails are better than others. If you know of one you would prefer you may request to spend the time there. Please call Smith & White, PLLC – the first consult is free.

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