Hamilton County criminal courts are often much different than other county courts in regard to the requirements necessary to qualify for alternative sentencing options that can shield a productive person from potential incarceration.
Absent “aggravating” legal factors (legal facts within a case that call for more severe punishment as a matter of law) clients that I protect within Noblesville for first time misdemeanor owi offenses are not often subject to the need for what is termed “Community Corrections Sentencing.” ( I am not in position to speak to the results of other lawyers or public defenders). Such sentencing is the general term to classify two different forms of alternative punishment to incarceration applicable within DUI cases that are not eligible for dismissal.
The first form of alternative punishment to incarceration is labeled “House Arrest” or “Home Detention.” Such a sentencing requirement will confine the individual to a certain radius within the home when not at work or fulfilling the terms of any and all probation requirements such as community service, alcohol counseling, etc. A bracelet is customarily affixed to the ankle of the individual to track the individual’s location, with a home phone line adapted to meet the requirements of the monitoring apparatus.
The individual must pay on a daily basis for this sentencing alternative with the amount varying on a sliding scale factoring the income of the individual in question placed on the home detention program.
“Work Release” is a more restrictive option than home confinement yet still offers the opportunity for an individual to maintain employment. As opposed to returning to one’s residence following daily employment, one serving a Hamilton County work release sentence must return from employment or any and all probationary obligations each day to sleep at the work release facility within Noblesville. In my experience one of the true obstacles in such a circumstance is an individual’s ability to secure transportation to and from the facility to daily employment with the expectation that the individual’s driving ability will be restricted.
Overcoming such hurdles in the performance of a community corrections sentence is often just half the battle in Hamilton County. The initial challenge is the ability to secure judicial approval for such a sentence irrespective of whether a designated prosecutor has agreed to such a sentencing option.
Unlike other counties it is an absolute requirement that written pre approval for community corrections be obtained within Hamilton County before sentencing. Further, unlike other counties and depending upon the Noblesville court assigned, Hamilton County judges are extremely reluctant to allow for such a sentence to be served in another county jurisdiction. In plain english this could mean that in order to avoid a term of incarceration, an individual may have take up temporary residence within Hamilton County.
Knowledge of the Hamilton County Community Corrections department approval process is essential to all options becoming available for a client in need and to having a person released from such confinement as soon as legally possible. For example, earned jail credit time for both Home Detention and Work Release will be preserved as long as the sentence has been classified executed jail time and not sentenced as a condition of probation in court. In other words if the house arrest or work release is classified as incarceration for sentencing purposes the ordered sentence will be reduced by half.
Depending upon the Hamilton County Courtroom even Misdemeanor dui convictions can result in potential jail time depending upon whether one has a prior criminal history of any kind. For example, at the present time within Hamilton County Superior Court 6 it has been the general judicial policy that one with a dui misdemeanor with a prior conviction years earlier is presumptively subject to a 100 day period of executed jail time irrespective of when the prior conviction has occurred.
Although I have been successful in altering such a judicial stance for my clients in select cases within this court and others within Hamilton County, it is imperative that a lawyer representing a client be well versed in how to adhere to the procedural requirements necessary to even qualify for the alternative judicial treatment of community corrections sentencing. In so doing it is the hope good people otherwise destined for prison or jail can either eliminate or reduce the prospect of a complete jail/prison confinement altogether.