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Sentencing in a DUI Case

Posted on:11/1/2012
If the trial judge elects to impose a prison sentence in lieu of probation or an alternative to imprisonment, he normally has discretion, within limits set by statute, to select the length of the prison sentence.


If the trial judge elects to impose a prison sentence in lieu of probation or an alternative to imprisonment, he normally has discretion, within limits set by statute, to select the length of the prison sentence. Usually this involves selecting a maximum sentence, which determines the longest period of time the offender can be kept incarcerated.

 

In addition, however, it frequently also involves selecting a minimum sentence or in some other way determining the period of time the offender must remain incarcerated until he is eligible for release in the discretion of the parole board. The criteria for selecting the prison sentence are basically the same as those used in the decision to grant or deny probation and in the decision to revoke probation.

 

The length of the prison sentence is also affected by a number of devices that select out certain types of offenders for particularly long prison sentences. Examples of this are habitual offender statutes in which persons who have previously been convicted of crimes may receive an increase in the prison term.

 

The actual time the offender spends in prison in felony DUI cases is a result of independent decisions made by two authorities—the trial court in selecting the prison sentence and the parole board in deciding within the limits imposed by the trial court when actually to release the offender. The system is intended to be a method of checks and balances in order to guard against placing too much discretion with either the sentencing judge or the parole board.


  
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