Interviewer: I also wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of jail and alternatives to jail. When does someone have to face county jail, and for how long?
Kevin Roach: That is a good question. Every time somebody comes in my office when they are arrested for DUI, they are worried about whether they are going to go to jail or not. It's a legitimate concern. For a the jail time, the maximum jail time, in Missouri, that you can receive for a first offensive DUI is up to six months in jail or a $500 fine. That is charged as a Class B misdemeanor. Most of the time, on a first offensive you don't have to; the prosecutor a lot of times doesn’t ask for jail time. They may take community service instead of jail time.
St. Charles First Offense DWI Offenders Can Get Jail
The St. Charles County circuit court is just right next to St. Louis County. It is an area that I practice in on a regular basis. St. Charles County is notorious for being pretty hard on even first offensive DUIs. If you have a high BAC over a 0.20 or higher, a lot of times the prosecutor will ask for a minimum of two days in jail. That is even for first offense cases. That’s what they ask for and they don't make too many exceptions. Most of the time you don't see jail on first offense cases, but if there is a high BAC and then maybe an accident or something, then St. Louis County and also St. Charles County will ask for shock incarceration. Usually it is for two days, but anywhere from two to five days. That is something we try to avoid but that is something that people need to be aware of. It is not unheard of to get jail time even for a first offense.
Diversionary Programs and Alternatives to Jail for DWI Charges
Interviewer: What are some of the alternatives to jail? Are there any house arrest programs or anything like that?
Kevin Roach: That is a very good question. Probably the number one alternative to jail is probation. In most cases, they do offer probation. Usually for misdemeanor cases there is a two-year probationary period. If you stay out of trouble for those two years then you don't have to do any jail time or anything.
Another alternative that you see a lot of times that is usually on more serious cases, like on felony cases, is house arrest where someone has to be monitored. Usually they wear a monitor around their ankle. They can go to and from work or the store. They have to be at home when they are not at work. They get monitored. That is instead of being incarcerated. That is a good option. Yeah, those are two of the alternatives I see to jail time. Something similar to house arrest is sometimes you will see people wearing a SCRAM alcohol monitor. You see this on occasion; the court will order that if they are really worried about someone drinking and driving. It will detect any alcohol that they consume in their system. They will wear a device that will detect that.
There Are No Pay to Stay Facilities for DWI Convicts in Missouri
Interviewer: Are there any programs that are like pay-to-stay or anything like that, where people, rather than having to go to jail, stay in a specific facility that they end up having to pay for?
Kevin Roach: No. There is not really pay-to-stay. Sometimes they do offer treatment for people, but if it is impatient treatment it is very similar to jail. Actually, here in Missouri the inpatient treatment facilities are at the jail. They are just in a different section of the jail. It is better than being in with the regular inmates. You are at least getting some help for your alcohol or substance abuse issues you may have. That is one thing you see. Also, usually, for felony cases that people have had several chances already, sometimes it is a good option for them to do an inpatient treatment program. In St. Louis County they have a program that is called Choices, where you actually are in the St. Louis County jail in a separate wing of the jail where they do treatment for you. Another common treatment program is a 120-day treatment. You go for 120 days. That is at one of the state penitentiaries. According to availability, you'll go to a separate wing of the jail and get the treatment. Then you are released after 120 days of treatment.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!