Usually, there are two parts to every case: one is the determination of guilt or innocence, and two is the determination of penalty for a guilty charge. Often, if the Judge doesn’t want to put the offender in jail he or she will use community service as a way of imposing a punitive sanction that doesn’t come at the expense of the guilty party’s job and will also theoretically aid society.
What Does Community Service Look Like?
For example, if you are convicted of a DUI or DWAI, the legislature has mandated that there must be community service. If the Judge wants to punish you but feels jail is too severe a sanction, community service is the way to make you feel as though there were consequences to your conduct.
The idea is to administer a punishment that fits the crime.
For a first time DUI or DWAI offense, the Court is required to impose 24-48 hours of community service. And generally, the community service will have nothing to do with drinking and driving.
Community service isn’t something as demeaning as picking up trash on the side of the road. Project Food Share or working with the Humane Society might be the types of not-for-profit organizations the Court may assign to an offender. The added benefit is that you’re helping to support organizations that benefit our society.
Criteria for Community Service
You’ll have a choice as to where you do your community service, but there are guidelines as to what meets the criteria. For one, the organization with which you work must be non-secular (it cannot have a religious base because of the Court’s principles of a separate Church and State).
Additionally, if you already regularly volunteer for a particular non-profit, you may not carry out your community service hours with that same organization. I had a client who regularly volunteered for the Children’s Museum, but when he requested to do his community service at that organization, the Court rejected his request because he had already spent so many hours there.
The idea is that if you do more community service where you have already been working, it doesn’t entail a consequence.
How Can I Tell if I’ll Get Community Service?
Most people would obviously prefer to do community service over jail time, but it’s not always clear-cut as to what the Judge will offer as a penalty.
You’re likely to get community service if you do some sort of tagging, graffiti, or harassment, but the punishment will also come down to the individual. Judges like giving community service to young kids and first-time offenders who otherwise have lived upstanding lives.
As each case is different, and every person is different, it is difficult to issue a blanket statement as to which punishment will be administered to which crime. If you’re dealing with a misdemeanor crime or felony, it is imperative that you talk to an attorney. Call our office today at (720) 999-9506 to set up a free consultation.