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What you need to know about community service

March 21, 2019

If you’re wondering if you can do community service as repayment for your DUI, there’s a few things you need to know. First: Not everyone gets to do community service to reduce their DUI penalties. Second: Community service is rare. Usually, you’ll do community service work, which is generally manual labor.

What is community service work?

Common community service work is picking up trash on the highway or removing graffiti. And no, you can’t just show up to your kid’s school and ask to scrub the floors. Community work usually has to be approved by the court to count toward your penalty. Sometimes it’s easier for the state to charge you with a fine or jail sentence instead. Always consult with an attorney who is an expert in DUI law.

In some states, community service is a mandatory sentence. In other states, where the penalties are much tougher, it is used as a negotiating tool. To qualify (but again, it’s not a guarantee) for court-mandated community service work, you must have opportunities in your area. You must be sober during community service work, meet all the service dates, and complying with the standards (safety, dress code, etc.) set by the community service provider. Failure to comply with all of these requirements can result in harsher fines and penalties, including jail time.

How does it work?

Usually, if you’re granted the opportunity or required to do community service work, you will attend an orientation date and select your method of community service. You will then be given a schedule. You must check-in with the agency monitoring your work and meet all the requirements set forth by the state.

If you’re lucky, community service work hours can include places such as the Red Cross or YMCA, or they can simply be local ones. If you have a special skill or trade, it may be worth it to talk with your attorney about applying your skills. For more ideas, check our blog about opportunities in your area.

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