Many criminal offenses, including DUI, include community service as part of the sentence. For that reason, depending on the offense and jurisdiction, we usually advise our clients to perform community service before the scheduled court date.
We do this for a few reasons. First, doing community service ahead of time gives your attorney additional leverage with plea negotiations. It demonstrates to the judge and prosecutor that you are being proactive about putting the matter behind you and that you take the judicial process seriously.
Second, it can save you money and trips to the probation office (if your sentence includes time served on probation). A judge has authority in certain cases to allow your probation to terminate early or go non-reporting once you complete all of the terms of your sentence. You expedite that process by completing community service before your probation sentence even begins. An added benefit is that once the probation terminates or goes non-reporting, you no longer have to pay a monthly probation supervision fee.
Third, doing community service ahead of time provides you flexibility. A judge may set deadlines for each term of the sentence. Doing the community service in advance allows you to complete the hours when it works for your schedule.
Fourth, any hours you complete over the required amount can usually be converted into fines. Please note, however, that this does not work the other way around; you cannot simply pay your way out of community service.
Some courts require that the hours be performed within the city or county limits, and others require that it be performed at particular non-profit agencies. Most jurisdictions let you choose your community service project, and you can even mix it up and perform the hours at more than one organization. Unless the court requires that you perform your community service hours at a particular organization or within the county or city limits, you may complete the hours at any 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Speak with a Georgia DUI Attorney who is familiar with the court system that your case is assigned to before you complete any community service.
To ensure you receive credit for the hours you perform, you must record them in a particular way. Record your hours and sign in and out on the agency's work log sheet. At the end of your required hours,have your organization signa letter on its letterhead to verify your work.