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Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers Discuss Alternative Program for DUI

In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, officials have developed a new program to allow DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offenders to serve mandatory jail terms in a designated hotel. The DUI Alternative Jail Program, which has been referred to as “DUI Hotel,” is a three day, three night stay at a designated hotel where participants receive intensive alcohol education and treatment sessions to complete their sentencing requirements. There is also a $500 fee for the three night stay.

According to the Department of Human Services, the DUI hotel was developed in 2010 in response to major administrative and logistical challenges from a large number of DUI arrests and convictions. Moreover, the objective of the hotel was to reduce the number of first time DUI offenders that were sentenced to jail or electronic monitoring as well as increase compliance with sentencing conditions.

The DUI Alternative Jail Program is being offered to first time DUI offenders with a 72-hour jail sentence that are not eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. The deputy director who oversees the Alternative Jail Program stated that the program was an opportunity for offenders to complete their mandatory requirements and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system. Supporters of the program feel that it allows space in jails for more serious offenders.

Furthermore, the program is self-funded, which is beneficial for taxpayers. Offenders are still required to pay restitution and fines, including lawyer’s fees. Those charged with a DUI find the program favorable as compared to choosing jail time or electronic monitoring. Jail time and electronic monitoring can takes several weeks to complete which can strain the criminal justice system.

Although there are advocates to the DUI program, not everyone is in support of the alternative jail program. A spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving opposes the alternative program stating that there is no research that shows the program will deter individuals to drive while intoxicated. Moreover, MADD promotes laws that require installation of ignition devices in vehicles of DUI offenders, which studies have shown to reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. Other opponents feel that it is not treating DUI offenders equally because only first time DUI offenders who can afford the program go to a hotel, while those who cannot afford the program will go to jail.

Allegheny County became the first county in Pennsylvania to implement this type of program. Since its inception, 2,583 offenders have been sentenced to the DUI hotel.

Haddonfield DUI Lawyer Michele Finizio Has the Knowledge and Experience to Defend Individuals Facing DUI Charges

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI offense, call the Law Offices of Michele Finizio. Our Haddonfield criminal lawyers are knowledgeable about drunk driving laws as well as other serious traffic violations. Our law offices are conveniently located in Moorestown, New Jersey in the Cherry Hill area to serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Gloucester County, Cape May County and Salem County. Call us today at 609-230-0374 or contact us online.

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I could not have asked for a better attorney. Michele Finizio treated my cases and the cases of those I've recommended, as if we were part of her family.

-D.A.