DWI sentencing is ordered by a judge with authority over the punishments a defendant will receive for a DWI conviction. A DWI is the criminal act of driving while intoxicated. A DWI charge can be brought against any individual operating any motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, illegal drugs, inhalants, prescription medications, over the counter medications, and any other intoxicating substances. DWI sentencing takes place after a judge or jury has determined that the defendant is guilty of the charges against him.
DWI sentencing laws and judgments are intended to satisfy society's five basic reasons for punishing those who break the law. These functions of DWI sentencing include: rehabilitation (correction), retribution (punishment), protection of society, preservation of good order and discipline, and general and specific deterrence (prevention). Based on these guiding principles a DWI sentence can include both traditional and alternative sanctions.
Traditional DWI sentencing orders can include incarceration in a prison or jail for a specific period of time, probation, and punitive fines. There are also a myriad of alternative sanctions that may be ordered through DWI sentencing. The following are DWI sentencing alternatives to incarceration: substance treatment and education programs, community service, electronic monitoring, impoundment or forfeiture of vehicles, interlock devices, victim impact panels, and a number of other sanctions.
The process of DWI sentencing is governed by individual state law, and therefore differs by state. DWI sentencing will depend on the authorizing laws or require a judge to order certain penalties in a DWI case. In many cases, the more discretion a judge has over DWI sentencing, the greater the defendant's chances of reducing the severity of her punishments. Statistics have found that a defendant who has strong legal representation during DWI sentencing fares better than a defendant without legal help.
During the DWI sentencing process a good defense attorney will make every effort to inspire the judge's leniency and secure a sentence that allows the client to resume a normal life as soon as possible. A defense attorney can show that alternative sanctions in DWI sentencing lower the risk that a defendant will violate DWI laws in the future.
A defense attorney can build a strong DWI sentencing case for a defendant through mitigation. Mitigation involves highlighting those factors that tend to lessen the apparent "badness" of the criminal and the crime. Mitigating factors can include: absence of a prior criminal record, good character, cooperation and good conduct during the case, family situations, victim forgiveness, and more.
A competent DWI defense attorney can present all mitigating factors in your case during the DWI sentencing process to elicit the most favorable outcome possible. If you would like to learn more about DWI sentencing, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced DWI defense attorney in your area.
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