DUI Probation Violations

Driving under the influence is a serious offense in California; however, if you are on probation when you are convicted of a DUI, you will also face a charge of probation violation as well. When you are sentenced to probation, the judge will impose certain requirements and restrictions that you must follow.  Some of the more common California requirements include:

  • Payment of restitution and/or fines
  • Avoiding any contact with your victims if your crime involves victims
  • Abstaining from alcohol and drugs and attendance of court ordered meetings if your offense is related to drugs and alcohol
  • Refraining from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Attending all court hearings and meetings with your assigned officer
  • Participating in community service
  • Providing proof of gainful employment
  • Abiding by any and all laws

The judge may impose other conditions, depending on the crime and the specifics of your case; however, it is noted that consuming alcohol, driving while intoxicated, and breaking other laws are all common violations.  Therefore, if you are charged with a DUI and are found guilty, you will be in violation under California state law.

Will I Have to Go to Court?

If you violate your terms, you will be required to attend a hearing. Because probation has a variety of requirements and conditions, many people find themselves facing a revocation hearing because they have violated one or more of their terms.  The most common types of offenses include:

  • Failure to pay restitution or fines
  • Failure to appear in court or at meetings
  • Committing a new crime

If you are charged with a DUI while on probation, you will be arrested for the DUI charge, but you will also be facing a violation.  If you are found guilty of the DUI, you will face a second hearing on a charge of probation violation.  However, just because you must go before a judge for your new offense, that does not mean your probation will be automatically revoked.

Defendants who are charged with violations have rights such as the right to be represented by a criminal defense attorney, to testify on their own behalf, to present witnesses to offer testimony in their defense and the right to review all evidence that the state has against them.  It is important to understand your rights before you appear at your hearing so that you can present the best possible defense.

What Will Happen?

If you are found guilty, the judge will consider several factors before deciding what sentence to impose for the offense.  Judges often look at your criminal history, the severity of your violation, how long you have been on probation, any previous offenses, and the recommendations from your parole officer and from the handling department.

Depending on the specific violation, the original crime, and the facts of the case, the judge has several options available to him for sentencing.  These include

  1. Reinstatement under the same terms and conditions as previously ordered;
  2. Modification with new terms and conditions.  These terms and conditions may be stricter and may require you to submit to random tests, revoke your driver’s license, or require you to attend alcohol abuse meetings; or,
  3. Revocation and sentencing to serve time in jail or in prison.

The last option is the most serious because it requires you to be incarcerated.  Having a California criminal defense attorney can help you avoid facing jail time.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

Yes!  If you are facing a DUI charge and if you are currently on probation, you should hire an experienced probation violation attorney to help protect your rights.  Judges in California take these offenses very seriously, and having an attorney with experience in both of these matters to protect your rights is the best chance you have of staying out of jail.

Violation hearings are unlike other criminal trials.  The first difference is that you do not have a jury; the judge is the sole decider of your guilt or innocence.  With a jury, you have a chance of convincing at least one person not to find you guilty; however, in these hearings, you have one shot at convincing the judge not to revoke and sentence you to prison time.  More importantly, you need an attorney because the prosecutor’s burden of proof is much less than in a criminal trial.

The prosecutor only needs to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated rather than proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.  The judge only needs to believe that it is more likely than not that you are guilty.  This burden of proof is much easier for a prosecutor to meet, and, therefore, it is more likely that you will be found guilty.

However, having an experienced attorney who knows how to rebut evidence and present a strong defense on your behalf can help persuade the judge that you were not in the wrong or give you a second chance. You may have your terms extended, or they may become stricter; however, you may be able to avoid jail time if you have an attorney representing you.

Those facing charges are encouraged to contact one of our attorneys at 888-250-2865 to obtain a free case evaluation. The evaluation is free, confidential, and may help to put you on a path towards success.