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Getting one DUI may be a matter of bad luck. However, getting two DUIs within five years of each other may be a symptom of a bigger problem.

By Statute, Florida Law requires that a person convicted of two DUIs within five years of each other spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. Florida Statute § 316.193(6)(b). However, the law allows that in lieu of 10 days in jail, the defendant can spend ten days in an Alcohol Rehabilitation Center. Florida Statute § 316.193(6)(k).

The idea is great. It saves the taxpayers the expense of housing and feeding a person for ten days in our local jail. More importantly, as a society, we want to encourage people with addiction issues to get help for their problems. The question is, do ten days of residential alcohol rehab treatment do any good?

For a person struggling with alcohol addiction, it is not reasonably expected that they are cured in 10 days. The standard for residential alcohol rehab treatment is 28 days. And anyone who has been through the process knows that it is just the start. But ten days does have a value. It may be a start, an introduction to sobriety. It may be an awakening to the problem and the first step in a 12-step program.

According to Robin Piper and Turning Point Residential Rehab Center of Tampa, the clinical aim is "a recognition of the impact of alcohol on a person's life." When a person is looking at doing ten days in jail, there is some pressure, and it may be the point where things begin to change. There have been people that come to Turning Point just to satisfy the legal requirements of the court, but the program then became a gateway to more treatment.

Punishment rarely is effective in treating addictions. And ten days in rehab treatment is not expected to be a miracle cure for a long-term addiction. But it can be an opportunity for someone not ready to commit to a longer program to start on the road to recovery. Operation PAR in Pinellas County and Turning Point in Hillsborough County are both outstanding treatment facilities that offer 10-day programs in addition to longer-term treatment.

Bruce Denson is a DUI Attorney in Tampa Bay, working with clients on a wide variety of addiction issues and their effect on their life and impact on others. We handle DUI cases with an eye toward long-term solutions.

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