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DUI: I need to do community service

Question: I have to do probation for a couple of years because I got my second DUI within 3 years. So now I'm on probation for 24 months in Marietta, GA. I have to do 240 hours of community service, which I haven't even started yet. I really don't want to do all that community service but the court says I have to do it and it's the law here in Georgia.

I want to do the community service at a friend's business. He always gives discounts to poor people or people in need. He actually owns a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. He told me that he does a lot of discounts for folks. And I've seen him give some pretty big discounts on food and drinks like coffee and tea to some people.

I never really got a good idea what community service entails and that's why I'm writing to ask you. Can you tell me what I can do for community service because I have a lot of it do get done.

K.V. in Woodstock, GA

Answer: Community service must be performed at a not-for-profit organization. If an organization is a legitimate non-profit then it is a 501(c)(3). To be designated a 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Code, the organization must be a non-profit. To get that IRS designation, a group must apply to the IRS for approval. The IRS is then supposed to investigate it and make a determination whether it is, in fact, a not-for-profit.

It is unlikely that your friend's restaurant is a 501(c)(3). And just because he provides discounts to people in need does not mean that it's a non-profit. In fact, I'm fairly certain that he wants his café to actually make money as a for-profit business.

The best way to locate a suitable charity for community service purposes is to look on the internet for something that you want to spend time doing, something that interests you. Maybe working at a homeless shelter, an animal shelter or donating your time trying to help eradicate a disease are some things you might find worthwhile.

Most courts allow people to perform community service hours at any non-profit. But some courts require the charity work to be done for a city agency or department. Your DUI attorney can help answer these questions.

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