New Jersey residents who follow celebrity news may have heard that the mother of actress Lindsay Lohan might be on her way to a plea bargain with prosecutors to resolve her DUI charges.
She recently left court with orders from a judge to return in January after performing community service and undergoing an alcohol and substance abuse assessment. Her attorney stated his belief that the evaluation would confirm that his client did not have alcohol or substance issues.
According to court records, Dina Lohan was stopped by the police for speeding Sept. 12 and appeared to the officer to be intoxicated. Subsequent chemical tests confirmed the initial observations of the police officer when her blood alcohol concentration was determined to be .20 percent. The legal limit for driving while intoxicated is .08 percent.
Lohan’s attorney attributed her multiple DUI charges to the attention focused upon her by the media. The attorney read a statement after court claiming that the “daily stresses” of contending with photographers and reporters were a factor leading to the arrest of his client who, he said, does not have any alcohol or substance issues.
Legislation in most states, including New Jersey, requires those charged with DUI or other alcohol-related offenses to undergo an evaluation for alcohol and substance abuse either prior to pleading guilty as part of a bargained plea arrangement or prior to sentencing following a conviction after trial. The purpose of the evaluation is to aid judges in identifying those individuals convicted of DUI charges who might be in need of alcohol or substance abuse treatment.
If an alcohol or substance abuse evaluation reveals that a person has a drug or alcohol dependency or abuse issue, the law allows a judge to make treatment a condition of the sentence. An attorney familiar with DUI penalties is a person’s best resource for answers to questions concerning sentencing options under currently existing laws. The attorney might be able to persuade the judge to exercise leniency in sentencing or to suspend jail time in favor of the client’s enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program.