An arrest for drunk driving can be a wakeup call for some, but it may also result in serious hardships, perhaps for years to come. A conviction for driving while impaired carries potential penalties that may include fines, license suspension and the possibility of serving time in jail. Perhaps jail is one of the most dreaded consequences of a criminal conviction. Jail means separation from family and may result in financial setback and job loss.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to jail that many court systems prefer for those convicted of DWI. One of the most common alternatives is community service. Community service is exactly what it sounds like, providing some kind of service to the community. If you are facing DWI charges, you may be eligible for community service if a court convicts you.

What is community service?

You may think of community service as picking up trash along the highway. This is only one example of the kinds of assignments someone may receive when a judge orders this alternative penalty. Often, government agencies or private organizations utilize the services of those convicted of DWI to complete necessary but time-consuming tasks that the agency does not have the resources or manpower to address, and you may even have the privilege of choosing such an agency to work for.

The benefits of providing a community service option include offering an opportunity for the offender to learn new skills, gain some confidence and avoid damaging jail time. The services you may provide also benefit society more than keeping you behind bars at taxpayer expense and placing you at risk of falling into a cycle of frustration that may lead to repeat offenses.

Advantages and disadvantages

In many cases, the court may offer community service in exchange for a guilty plea. This is a risky trade, and you would be wise to consider this offer only after obtaining the advice of an attorney. Even with community service, you may still have to serve part of your time in jail or pay a fine, and you will certainly walk away with a criminal conviction on your record.

Of course, if a court convicts you of DWI, your actual sentence will depend on many factors, including the circumstances of your case and the municipality involved. No matter your circumstances, you will want legal counsel from an attorney who is known and respected in every courthouse in Hennepin County, Minnesota.