Most judges require offenders to complete community service hours as a penalty for their DWI. Community service is a valuable punishment, as it requires someone who endangered those around them to give back to the community. Physical labor also helps ensure the offender doesn’t make the mistake of driving under the influence again. Many DUI and DWI lawyers try to reduce their defendant’s sentence by suggesting community service instead of prison time. Even though community service can be demanding work, it may be a better solution than paying hefty fines or serving time in jail.
Knowing the community service requirements in St. Louis, Missouri, can help you understand your sentence. It also ensures you’re completing your penalties correctly. The judge may add to your sentence if you don’t finish your service hours. If you or someone you know has been charged with drinking and driving in St. Louis, call a DWI attorney from Rose Legal Services. We’ll help you navigate the legal system and reduce your charges.
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What is the Purpose of Community Service?
Community service is helping businesses or people in the community as a punishment for committing a crime. The purpose of this penalty is to prevent the offender from committing the crime again. For example, a person convicted of a DWI may receive 40 hours of community service. The manual labor may take several days to complete. The work will help prevent the offender from future drinking and driving offenses.
Another benefit of community service for DUIs is that it helps the local community. Drinking and driving is hazardous to innocent bystanders and other motorists. To pay for damages the offender caused, they have to support the community they harmed. You have a deadline to complete the hours you’re sentenced to community service. You also have to get your community service approved by the court.
Here are some common types of community service you could complete:
- Serving at a food pantry
- Cleaning up trash
- Helping at a humane society
- Working at a homeless shelter
Another typical service is speaking at an organization, such as a school, to warn people of the consequences of drinking while driving.
What Are the Community Service Requirements in St. Louis?
In St. Louis, a first-time DWI offense doesn’t require community service hours. However, your lawyer may be able to negotiate community service instead of prison time or fines. For a second offense, you may be penalized with jail, fines, and probation. Like your first offense, you can potentially waive prison time by completing community service hours. You must complete ten days in jail before your probation unless you participate in a DWI program or serve 30 days of community service.
If you’ve had two previous convictions of drinking and driving and you’re charged with another DWI, you may serve up to four years in jail. The minimum time you have to spend in prison before your probation period is ten days. Your sentence can be replaced with 60 days of community service. Your DWI lawyer might suggest that you complete community service before your trial. Doing so can reduce your sentence. Doing community service before your trial shows that you’re taking accountability for your actions, which can help your case.
How to Log Your Community Service
Before starting your community service, you must sign up for some organizations. Make sure the court approves of your form of service. Also, check to see if the organization accepts court-ordered community service. Once you start your community service, you need to log your hours. Logging your hours acts as proof that you completed your punishment. Ask the organization you’re serving for a letter with the number of hours you’ve worked. You can send the letter to the court or ask your attorney to send it for you. Another option is to deliver the letter by hand on your court date. Just ensure the letter gets to the court before or by your trial date, or your hours won’t get verified.
Contact a DWI Lawyer Today
While community service is hard work, it’s usually better than going to prison or paying a hefty fine. Community service also shows that you’re remorseful for your actions and won’t drive while under the influence again. If you’d prefer to complete community service hours rather than jail time, it’s helpful to know the community service requirements for St. Louis. This way, you can complete the right amount of hours for your offense. A criminal defense lawyer can help you reduce your penalty and negotiate your jail sentence for community service hours.
Call a St. Louis DWI lawyer from Rose Legal Services today to schedule your free case review.