DUI: Worried about community service

Question: My wife was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago and she is an alcoholic. Alcoholism runs in her family; both her parents drank all the time. Her mom was pretty much never without a glass of wine and her father drank his share of gin. So I’ve been worried that one day my wife would get a DUI because she drinks and drives a lot.

Last weekend, she went out with a couple of friends for the day to the High Museum in Atlanta and at night they went to dinner in Sandy Springs. At dinner she drank a lot and she went to drive her friends home when she got stopped for speeding. Her friends told me that she was driving very fast, maybe like 100 miles per hour when the cop pulled her over.

I think she was having a manic episode from the bipolar and when she got stopped by the Sandy Springs cop, she started to scream at him and she tried to run away. The cop chased her, grabbed her and arrested her for DUI and other things.

She took the breathalyzer test and it was .228, which we all know is pretty high. It’s her first DUI and since she works as a chiropractor, she can’t miss much work. She wants to know how much community service she’ll have to do under Georgia law. She’s now doing AA meetings and she said she’s giving up all types of alcohol for good, even wine, which she loves. Now she needs a great Sandy Springs DUI lawyer.

She’s worried that her boss will fire her if she misses too much work and that’s why I’m writing in to you to see about the community service issue. I mean she doesn’t mind helping people, that’s why she became a chiropractor after all, but she’s worried that community service for a DUI will be too big a time commitment for her and the head chiro will fire her.

L.P. in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Answer: Georgia law provides that the minimum community service requirement after a plea or conviction for a first DUI is 40 hours. Community service can be done at any not-for-profit, also known as a 501 (c) (3). These are charities of all types. Charities include animal shelters, homeless shelters, thrift stores of all kinds, and charities dedicated to helping people with various illnesses and diseases. Some jurisdictions allow people to do community service work for religious organizations and schools.

She should choose a charity that interests her and remind her to have the not-for-profit document on their letterhead how many hours she has worked there.

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