No matter what state a driver is in, getting behind the wheel while under the influence is not encouraged, and it is highly punishable by law if a person is convicted. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous task to undergo because it not only places the driver at risk, but anyone else who is in their car along with all other people on the road, in cars and on the streets. Driving while intoxicated is a dangerous action, and because of that the entire country is implementing different ways to try and educate drivers, particularly underage drivers, the dangers of what it means to drink and drive.
In the state of Pennsylvania they have implemented an alternative method for those who have been convicted of a DUI. Allegheny County has a program called the DUI Alternative Jail Program, also known as the DUI Hotel, as a means of helping those who have been sentenced to jail for driving under the influence. Running now for over 30 years, it is a three-day program that occurs at two local hotels and their goal is to educated and train people about the dangers of drinking and driving as well as offer treatment to those who may be suffering with addictions.
One of the positive aspects of this program is that it is leaving the jail cells to be used by those criminals guilty of more dangerous criminal acts. Rather the goal here is to train and treat that possibility suffering with addictions. Those who are not in favor of this method of punishment, claim that those drunk drivers will walk away unchanged and therefore drink and drive again, having not learned anything and placing the lives of others at risk yet again when they should be in jail.
A former state representative, George E. Saurman, 86, address the issue and states boldly that he believes giving people conceited of a DUI the chance to go to a hotel instead of paying for their crime is ridiculous. Saurman says that people who break the law are sentenced as a means of protecting people, not only others from dangerous acts, but also the driver themselves. He believes that jail gives them time to learn from their mistakes, whereas a hotel is more of a joke. He also addresses the fact that legally he doesn’t see how this should be allowed as a form of punishment for breaking the law.
A young man, 22 years old, shares that he was thankful for the time to go to the hotel as opposed to spending time behind bars. Whether the program changed him at all is hard to tell. This program does have its limitations for who is eligible to participate. A person must be a first time offender in order to be considered for the program, also their sentencing must have been a 72 hour jail time. These eligible candidates not only have to have had no prior DUI’s but they also must have no criminal record period.
There are many concerned with this program and question their ability to successful prevent drunk drivers on the road. A spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Anna Duerr, claims that by allowing those convicted the chance to go to a hotel for a few days, is no way for them to truly learn that drunk driving is bad. In contrast to that concern, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. wants the public to know that those admitted to the “hotel” are not visiting a five star day spa, rather all of their freedoms are taken away. It is a time of training in which they must follow step by step, and they have no other options do anything else than the program.
By choosing the route for the DUI hotel also doesn’t dismiss any fines that the convicted person would be responsible to pay, such as attorney fees, DUI restitution fees, and other fines as well. Many criminal defense attorneys are in favor of this program, not just because it is move in favor of their clients, but also because it is only a 3 day program which only leaves the person to miss one day of work rather than months for a DUI. The goal of this program is to help those who have made mistakes, for them to be educated and have a chance to make the right choices in the future.
If you or someone you know is in need of a strong DUI defense attorney here in Southern California, contact The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today to discuss your situation. While this program does not exist in California, as a defense attorney we will do whatever we can to help your case, call us today!