It is not uncommon for the judge to impose a 3-5 year probation term instead of jail time for a DUI conviction. In fact, unless there are aggravating circumstances, receiving probation is highly likely. As my past blogs have demonstrated, what someone receives as their terms or conditions of probation can vary quite significantly.However, for first time DUI offenders, standard “active” probation terms include paying fines and fees within a certain time, enrolling and completing DUI school, enrolling and completing AA meetings, and a license suspension. Following a conviction, judges will require the defendant return to court or the clerk’s office and provide proof of enrollment and proof of completion of any classes or meetings that were a required term of probation.
Along with these terms, there are general probationary terms that are automatically imposed for a DUI conviction. These include the requirement that the defendant not commit any other criminal offenses while on probation. Traffic violations are not criminal offenses that will violate probation. If you are on probation for a DUI, and are suspected of driving under the influence during probation, you must submit to a chemical test, including a preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS aka breathalyzer). Additionally, if someone is on probation, they cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.
Failure to comply with any of the terms of probation may result in a violation of probation. Depending on the severity of the violation, the consequences of a violation will vary. The judge may revoke probation and impose a jail sentence. The judge may also modify the terms of probation to add conditions or extend the length of probation.
Many of the probation violations I encounter involve failing to show proof of enrollment or proof of completion of DUI school or other similar classes. When a defendant fails to show up to court to show proof of enrollment or proof of completion, not only is the defendant facing a probation violation, a bench warrant is usually issued for that person. Many people do not realize that their visits to the court are not over when the judge issues a sentence.
Also remember that if the court or the DMV suspend your license, you cannot drive. If you do so and are caught, not only are you facing a violation of probation, but also a separate charge of misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.