Work Release Explained

Phoenix DUI Lawyer Nick Alcock Explains Work Release in Tent City

Recently arrested for a DUI in Maricopa County? Feeling confused, frightened and full of stress is a common response. We understand what you’re going through. Over the many years I’ve practiced law, the majority of my clients facing DUI charges in Phoenix come to my office with the same question: “If convicted, what will happen to my job if I have to spend any amount of time in jail?” Believe me, this is a legitamite concern shared by thousands of people. After all, it’s highly unlikely that your employer is going to give you extended time off to serve your jail sentence or that you would want them to know about the incident in the first place. Even scarier is the fact that in the current economic climate there are possibly thousands of unemployed people looking to take your job.

Yes, it is true that some jobs are adversely affected by a DUI conviction. The good news is that there is relief for many first and second time DUI offenders. Arizona has a program called “Work Release” that allows first and second time offenders to be released from jail for a period of up to 12 hours per day and up to five days a week if you are employed or a student. This allows you to keep your job, and in most cases keep your conviction private.

Who is Eligible for Work Release?

The Work Release program is not available for those who have been convicted of an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is also often referred to as an extreme DUI or a Felony DUI. Some of the circumstances that may factor in the consideration of an aggravated DUI charge include an extremely high blood alcohol level (BAC), driving with a BAC of .08 or higher with a minor child in the vehicle, driving a school bus while intoxicated, driving in a school zone while intoxicated, driving intoxicated without a valid drivers license, extensive property damage due to an incident, you have multiple drunk driving convictions within a particular time period, or an accident causing serious injury or death. Aggravated DUI is a much more serious offense and requires a highly experienced and skilled attorney to defend you. If you are charged with an aggravated DUI you will want an experienced Arizona DUI attorney who will fight to drop the charges down to a misdemeanor.

The Work Release program is entirely up to the discretion of the court and is in no way mandatory. Most judges consider it a privilege that must be earned so you need to make sure that you have an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney who will stand up for your rights and make sure that Work Release is requested and that the courts have all the information the need in order to grant the work release program.

There is a major difference between misdemeanor DUI and felony DUI. For misdemeanor offenses, virtually everybody who is eligible for work release will have it granted to them. For felonies, however, it is up to the judge. People sentenced to prison are not typically eligible for any type of work release or furlough. Work release is reserved for those people who are sentenced to jail for misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanor DUI convictions are the most common situation where work release is granted by the Court. Work furlough, a completely separate program with very different rules, is typically given to people sentenced to jail for felony offenses.

The Basic Difference Between Work Release and Work Furlough

ONLY “Work Furlough” requires:
• That you pay a daily fee
• Your employer must sign a letter of understanding
• A minimum 32 hour work week
• You can only go to work and return to the jail

What Happens If I Violate The Terms Of My Work Release?

This is the one thing you do not want to do. Failing to report late for your scheduled time each day or showing up under the influence of drugs or alcohol will immediately exclude you from the work release program. You will then be forced to serve the remainder of your sentence without the luxury of the release option.

Before the work release program can start you must serve 48 consecutive hours. Once that time is completed then you can be released for up to 12 hours per day based on a predetermined time-frame. For example, should you choose to be released during the day you may choose to be released from 7 am to 7 pm. The twelve hour release is designed to give you time to get ready and to your place of work and return to the jail before your deadline. It’s up to you to ensure that you are ready to be released each day on time and return on time as well. You must make sure that you return prior to your check in time and you have to be entirely clean of any substance such as alcohol when you return otherwise you can lose your work release privileges and be charged with additional violations.

For more information about the Arizona Work Release program, or to schedule a free consultation with an aggressive, experienced DUI attorney in Arizona, call the Law Offices of Alcock and Associates today at (602) 989-5000.