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Entering An Alcohol Treatment Program May Help You Avoid The Worst DWI Penalties

Is there any way you can get a lesser sentence than you would normally expect for a conviction of driving while intoxicated? Your state has minimum sentencing requirements for your offense, but a DWI attorney may help you avoid getting harsher penalties than the minimum. Lawyers use various strategies to achieve this goal, but you can do your part as well. One possibility might involve your completing an alcohol treatment program at a rehab center -- if you are willing to do so. 

DWI & Jail time

If you're worried that you'll be forced to spend time in jail, either this is not your first offense or you caused an injury to someone -- or serious damage to someone's property. These are the situations that usually have minimum sentences involving jail time.

You can't avoid the minimum sentence if you're convicted of the specific offense. However, your lawyer may be able to convince the prosecuting attorney to reduce the charges -- if this is acceptable in your state. If not, he or she can help a great deal in convincing a judge to issue the lowest sentence allowed. 

Initial Legal Benefit of Entering Rehab

Judges see DWI cases all the time. They are likely to become jaded when they must continually deal with repeat offenders or drivers who have caused a serious accident due to intoxication.

Judges have the discretion to impose a more severe penalty than the minimum. Instead of three to five days in jail, for instance, you might be slapped with a six-month jail sentence. All states allow judges to impose a six-month jail sentence even for first-time DWI offenders. 

You can help your case by beginning a rehab center treatment program on either a residential or outpatient basis. This can show a judge you are serious about making a change.

In fact, sometimes a judge orders a person to complete an alcohol treatment program in lieu of a certain amount of jail time. The judge may believe this individual will be more likely to quit drinking and driving after a treatment program, whereas spending some time in jail may not have that effect.  

Possibility of Expungement

Most states consider even the first DWI conviction to be a crime. That conviction will always be in your criminal history, as will any repeat offenses. The records will be permanent unless you can have a conviction expunged -- meaning it will be removed -- at a later date. Not all states have expungement for DWI, but if yours does, your lawyer can help you in the future at whatever point this is allowed. 

Completing a treatment program at a rehab center can be presented as part of your request for expungement. Of course, you must have also had a clean driving record after that and no other trouble with the law. 

The Fundamental Reason to Enter Rehab

If you've committed a serious enough DWI offense that you're facing mandatory jail time, you probably realize that you have a drinking problem.

After a DWI conviction, some people decide to keep drinking excessively but to never again drive after drinking alcohol. Others take their chances and continue their habitual behavior, which commonly leads to another conviction.

Completing an alcohol treatment program can help you resolve your chemical dependency. You'll learn the underlying causes of the problem and strategies to stop overusing. Perhaps you are ready to quit drinking altogether, or perhaps you want to learn to moderate. Either way, counselors and peers in structured group settings can provide you with the tools you need to stop your destructive behavior.

Get More Information

Click this link or contact a DWI lawyer for a free initial consultation. Without an attorney, you may have to deal with the most serious of consequences. In addition, contact alcohol treatment centers in your area and begin therapy at the one that seems the best fit for you. This may go a long way toward convincing a judge you will not drink and drive again.