There are many different punishments or sentences that a judge can give in a DUI case in Los Angeles. One of these is certainly community service and there's a bunch of different forms of community work.
Caltrans to Avoid Jail
The harshest punishment that the judge can give – and usually this is given in place of jail – would be Caltrans. Those are the people that you see on the freeway in the orange jumpsuits picking up trash. This is particularly dangerous.
It's also very difficult to do, in the sense that you have to get up real early – 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning – and they only have so many spots available and if you don't get one of the spots then you just wasted your time going out there. Obviously, Caltrans is not the best sentence somebody could get, but if you really, absolutely want to avoid jail time for your DUI sentence, then this form of community service is certainly a viable one.
There're also other forms of community service related to your DUI that are very close to this. For example, the PAWS Program, community labor – these are in this same area of more difficult than the easy community service.
This is actually physical work – working at a park or a beach. There're different things that they can make you do depending on what is needed out there in the community. In addition, there actually is community service.
This is usually an easier form of work where you can work in an office – it's not necessarily physical labor – and it's safe for those offenders who are obviously on the low end of the offense scale and it's typically and 8 to 10-hour day. A lot of times, you can even get rid of most of the DUI fine if you can get community service instead. This is viable for those people who really don't have the money to pay $2,000 to $3,000 related to a DUI case.
Another form of community service is the easy community service which is saved for those people who may be injured – it's called light community service – you bring forth medical documentation showing that you simply cannot do physical work.
A lot of times we can get the light community service instead of some harsh community service where you're going to injure yourself. So, there's all forms of community service. A lot of whether you do community service has to do with many factors. Obviously, your DUI defense attorney is going to be your best source in figuring out what type of community service you might end up with related to your DUI.
Failure to Complete Community Service
The bottom line is, if you don't do your community service and you violate your probation and violate your sentence, what's probably going to end up happening is the judge is just going to throw you in jail.
It's easier for the judge if someone is not doing their community service sentence related to a DUI case to just throw you in jail, because then you'll serve your jail sentence and then you'll be done.
That's something you really can't mess up, because once you surrender, that's it. The authorities have you and they're going to have you serve whatever percentage of time that they have you serve, then you'll get out and you'll be back on probation.
Really, if you have community service questions related to DUI's, every single court in Los Angeles has a community service office which is an office within the court where you can go – they have all the different community services that you can do.
They have a sheet and you can talk to the people there and get all the information related to a community service issue. Some people think well, I can just do any community service I want. I'll work over my brother's store. I'll do something at church, but you have to get a court-approved community service if you have a DUI case and you're trying to meet the terms and conditions of your probation.
Make sure you're doing an approved program. Make sure it's run through the court. Make sure your attorney approves it. Because if you don't get something that's approved by the court in the community service office then you're going to have to redo the whole thing.
Another thing people mess up on related to community service is, once you do the community service, you actually have to get your community service hours verified in order to satisfy your DUI sentence.
Community Service Office
The way you do that is you run them back through the community service office in the courthouse. They'll put the stamp of approval on it and then the judge will know you didn't just make the community service hours up – that the community service office verified that you actually did them.
You have to be careful about this because some people try to cheat and get fake community service hours. If you get caught doing this, you're going to violate your probation.
So, if you are sentenced with community service to satisfy your DUI charge, you're going to want to speak to your attorney about it, because it is a sentence that you want to get if you want to try to avoid jail time related to your DUI matter.