DRM was arrested on March 21, 2008. She was charged with DUI and refusal to submit to testing. The case arose out of a single car accident. DRM had been convicted for a DUI occurring less than two years before. She had also refused to “blow” in the previous DUI.
The refusal to blow after a previous refusal can, under certain circumstances, constitute a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition, the driver license would be revoked for a period of 18 months. The refusal charge “ups the ante” in connection with the defense of these types of charges.
The DUI charge was a second offense which, among other things, carried a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail and a 5-year license revocation.
DRM was just 25 years old and had three young children at home. The State’s plea offer called for 45 days in jail. It was at this point that DRM retained Jeffrey H. Garland.
DRM was sincere in her desire to treat the underlying causes for the DUI. She was willing to register for and complete a residential treatment program.
Attorney Garland provided proof of her pending acceptance into a 60-day CARP program to St. Lucie County Judge Phillip J. Yacucci. Judge Yacucci very kindly set the case for a change of plea several months later so that DRM would have an opportunity to complete the residential treatment program.
On September 22, 2008, DRM entered a change of plea to both counts. By agreement, she was to receive 45 days in jail, but received credit for the time served in the residential treatment program. Therefore, DRM served no additional jail time. She did receive the remaining minimum mandatory penalties, except that the vehicle impoundment was excused, because the vehicle was also used by her father for essential employment purposes.
Any person facing a repeat DUI should consider the option of residential treatment. Many cases are defensible on their facts. Other cases are not. In any event, alcohol and drug abuse may be successfully treated, and many judges will allow credit for such residential treatment against a potential jail term. It is up to the attorney to counsel a client about the relative merits of this type of special disposition.