What Happens When You Violate Your DUI Probation?
How does DUI probation work?
The vast majority of people who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California receive a probationary sentence rather than jail, providing they agree to abide by certain conditions and restrictions. They usually include:
- Payment of a fine of $390–$1000
- Completion of DUI school
- Agreeing not to drive with any blood alcohol content for the probationary period
- Agreeing to comply with all chemical tests for alcohol and drugs when pulled over by police.
Other potential conditions include:
- Agreeing to an alcohol interlock device in their car (this condition is usually only imposed when the defendant has a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or if the person has had more than one DUI conviction)
- License suspension (which can range from six months to several years)
- Completing a term of community service
- Attending AA meetings, or certain programs intended to show the consequences of drink-driving.
Drivers who violate the terms and conditions of their specific probation risk being sentenced to jail. If you have been charged with violating your DUI probation, contact JD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys today to see how we can help, at (760) 630-2000.
How can you violate your DUI probation?
Here are some common ways in which people can violate their probation:
- Driving with ANY level of alcohol in your blood. When you’re on probation for DUI, the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration limit that generally applies in California does not apply to you. It’s strongly recommended that you do not drink at all on days when you know you have to drive.
- Refusing chemical tests when you’re pulled over. Drivers who are not on probation, and have not been arrested, can refuse to take these tests. But if you are on DUI probation, these tests are compulsory when stopped by police. If you decline them, you are violating your probation.
- Committing any crimes. Unrelated offenses such as theft or assault are a breach of your DUI probation, as are other traffic-related offenses such as driving without a license.
- Being required to attend DUI school and other programs but not enrolling, not showing up, or not being able to provide the necessary proof that you are enrolled.
- Not paying your fines.
- Not showing up to court appearances.
Breaching your probation accidentally
It’s in your best interests to comply, but sometimes people do accidentally breach the terms of their DUI probations.
Administrative breakdowns, such as problems formally enrolling you into a particular course, might trigger a probation violation.
Failure to get proof of your attendance, even though you might have turned up and done everything required of you, is another example.
Defenses to a breach
The best defenses are that you had a genuine reason for the breach, and/or that the original terms of the probation were unreasonable.
As an example, you might be physically incapable of completing your community service, or you might have completed all your responsibilities regarding attending DUI school, but you need more time to produce the paperwork.
If the judge accepts there was a valid reason for the breach, they may ignore the breach, or amend the terms of the probation to make it easier for you to comply.
What are the charges you can have pressed against you for violating DUI probation?
You could be sentenced to the maximum jail time available for the original charge—six months for a first-time DUI offense.
You can also have your probation changed. For instance, it might be made more severe, extended to give you more time to comply with the conditions or pay your fines, or the terms otherwise amended.
How can a lawyer help you?
The burden of proof the police have when they are trying to show you breached your probation is lower than it would be in a criminal case—the “preponderance of evidence” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt.”
It’s a good idea to get an experienced defense lawyer, who can either help you prove that you have actually fulfilled the terms of your probation—or explain convincingly why you breached it.
Contact JD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys today if you have been charged with breaching your DUI probation, at (760) 630-2000.
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