From hefty fines to a license suspension, a DUI conviction carries a number of penalties under Georgia law. Although the terms of your sentence may vary based on the circumstances of your arrest, the court will almost certainly order you to perform community service.

For this reason, many drivers decide to complete their community service hours before going to court—a strategy that is often used to negotiate a reduced sentence if they are later found guilty of driving under the influence.

Selecting an Approved Organization

While you may find it beneficial to complete the community service requirements prior to your court date, it is always best to discuss your options with an attorney before proceeding further. Each court has clear guidelines regarding where community service can be performed, with all of them requiring you to select an approved non-profit organization.

A top-rated DUI attorney will recommend that you begin doing community service hours right away. Getting these hours done at a charitable or non-profit organization may provide your DWI attorney with a bargaining tool with which to approach your prosecutor. An additional reason that your DUI attorney may tell you to start community service hours is that your prompt and early commitment to do public service may be beneficial to you if you are required to go to trial.

Although Must Ministries and Hands on Atlanta are popular choices in most courts, you may want to ask for a list of approved organizations before making a final decision. In some jurisdictions, you may be allowed to perform your community service hours at a local church or school, while other courts require you to choose an organization within the county.

Notifying Organization and Documenting Hours

Once you’ve selected an organization and received approval from the court, you should then notify the company of your intentions to volunteer there. You must inform them of your offense and let them know that you are performing court-mandated community service as part of your sentence. After disclosing this information, the organization has the right to refuse you as a volunteer.

To ensure you fulfill your sentencing requirements, you must document all of your community service hours. The court will require you to submit detailed records showing the exact times you worked at the organization. It is important to keep track of your hours on the agency’s work log by signing in and out each day, as it can be very difficult to verify hours afterward. In addition, you should also ask someone from the organization to write a letter confirming the total time you worked as a volunteer.

DUI Community Service Can Be Enjoyable

Many people who get involved in community service find that they ENJOY it. You may find that even when your term of service is over, you continue to provide volunteer hours for the same non-profit organization in the future. Make the best of your DUI community service hours by meeting new people at the location, talking to other people who were sent there by the judge, and helping each other overcome any possible issues with alcohol or drug addiction.