If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Colorado, we understand if you’re worried and anxious about what will happen to you.
Colorado has strict DUI laws and severe penalties, and one of the requirements is court-ordered community service as part of a DUI sentence. You will have to serve between 24 to 120 hours of public service for a DWAI or DUI, among other penalties. However, you might be able to challenge your DUI charges before the judge’s verdict. The most important thing is to consult a DUI lawyer for guidance and expert defense.
What is Community Service, and Why is It Required?
Community service is a punishment to benefit the community harmed by a crime. It is also called useful community service, useful public service, or community restitution. Community service is often preferred in place of more severe penalties, such as jail time or hefty fines. Since many people with traffic misdemeanors, such as DUIs, are first time offenders, performing community service as one form of punishment is an excellent way to pay back the community instead of serving a more lengthy jail sentence.
What Types of Community Service Can You Perform?
Judges have broad discretion in the types of community service they can order. So long as it is not harmful to you, isn’t unduly harsh, and is in the general public’s best interests, there are almost unlimited options. Some of the most common places you can serve community service are with non-profit organizations offering helpful public services, such as collecting trash, cutting grass in public areas, and serving in food kitchens and pantries.
Here in Colorado, the criminal justice system provides a list of such non-profit organizations accepted by the court. These organizations must provide a minimum of direct supervision “or other public cost.” Here in Colorado Springs, someone who is sentenced to community service must sign up with Front Range Community Service Center, and then from there, they can pick which organization they prefer to work with to earn their hours.
Can You Choose Where You Do Community Service?
You usually can choose where you want to serve community service, so long as it meets the court’s guidelines. For example, the organization you serve cannot be church-based (non-secular) since the court is independent of the church and state. You also cannot do community service at an organization where you’re a regular volunteer. The whole idea is that community service is a punishment, not something you usually do. Just remember, if you are in Colorado Springs, the Court requires you to have your community service hours approved by Front Range Community Service Center in order for them to qualify.
Do You Serve Community Service With Every DUI?
Every DUI, DWAI, and UDD charge carries possible community service penalties. It is a required sentencing term for all non-felony offenses, which mean first- to third-time offenses that don’t involve injuries or vehicular homicide, as well as felony sentences that result in probation or community corrections instead of prison time
Why Do I Have to Pay for Community Service in Colorado?
You can pay up to $75 for community service in Colorado Springs and all other court fees and charges. The fee covers insurance for you, as well as the operational costs of the community service program.
Where Can You Do Community Service in Colorado?
In Colorado Springs, you must first register for community service through the Front Range Community Service Center.
Through that organization, you can work with a number of local non-profits including:
- Arc Thrift Stores
- Goodwill of Colorado
- El Paso County Humane Society
- Garden of the Gods Visitors Center
The ideal beneficial service organization provides outreach and advocacy for marginalized and low-income community members. That includes the homeless, people with disabilities, and those with mental health problems.
How to Report Your Community Service to the Court
The court relies on signed timesheets from the organization to track the public service hours until you complete your public service hours. Clock in and out every time you report to the organization, and ensure that your supervisor signs the time sheet for it to be acceptable in court. Front Range Community Service Center should also give you a certificate of completion once you have met your hours.
Can You Get an Extension if You Don’t Finish Community Service on Time?
It’s possible to get the court to grant you an extension for your community service requirements if there are legitimate reasons. For example, if you get sick and the allocated time expires, you can have your DUI lawyer request the judge for an extension. If the request is approved, you will have more time in which you can finish your required community service hours.
What Happens If You Don’t Show Up for Community Service?
Community service is punishment instead of jail time, hefty fines, and other more severe sentences. If you don’t show up for community service, your probation officer will call you, and you may receive another chance to comply with the court’s requirements. However, if the judge finds that you willfully failed to comply, they may issue a warrant for your arrest and have you jailed or fined for contempt of court.
DUI Community Service for Disabled Defendants in Colorado
If you are disabled, the court will assign light duties suited to your mobility limitations. These include answering phones, making blankets, reception work, and data entry.
How a Colorado DUI Attorney Can Help
Community service is much better than jail time and significant fines. Still, it takes a lot of time you could otherwise spend working to support yourself and your family, not to mention the community service costs. So, sometimes it may make sense to challenge DUI charges. There are many grounds for dismissing or overturning DUI charges here in Colorado. With the right DUI lawyer defending you, you stand better chances of avoiding DUI penalties or minimizing them.
Contact an expert Colorado DUI lawyer at Right Law Group now.