Drivers convicted of DUI / DWI face serious consequences, including fines, jail, and license suspensions. However, courts have begun to acknowledge that it is useless to punish drunk drivers without addressing underlying problems with alcohol, and sentencing alternatives have become available. An experienced California DUI / DWI attorney can determine whether a particular case meets the requirements for alternative sentencing.
These alternatives are offered with the goal of helping, not punishing, the DUI driver. One such alternative is mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA meetings.
Attendance at AA meetings is usually required as a condition of probation. The court determines how many meetings a driver must attend during a certain period of time, and the meetings are recorded on a “court card” that must be signed by the meeting secretary. If the driver fails to attend the prescribed number of meetings, the terms of probation are violated, and the driver likely will go to jail.
AA meetings take place in nearly every community during weekdays, evenings, and on weekends. To locate a meeting, look up the “AA Central Office” in any phone directory, or log on to web site. There is no cost to attend meetings, and DUI offenders likely will meet other individuals who understand and relate to the problems they are experiencing.
Alcoholics Anonymous describes itself as a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
To help individuals discover whether they have a problem with alcohol, AA has produced the following questionnaire. Anyone who answers yes to four or more questions may have a problem with alcohol.
- Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
- Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking– stop telling you what to do?
- Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?
- Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?
- Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?
- Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?
- Has your drinking caused trouble at home?
- Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough?
- Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to?
- Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?
- Do you have “blackouts”?
- Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?
An estimated 13 million Americans suffer from substance abuse problems, but help is available to those who seek it. Alcoholics Anonymous has helped more than 2 million problem drinkers live sober lives.