What does probation involve in a DUI case?

probation Orange County dui what does probation involve in a dui case

What does probation involve in a DUI case?

Table of Contents

1. What does probation involve in a DUI case in Orange County?

If you are sentenced for a DUI anywhere in California, the law requires that the judge sentencing you place you on probation. Probation is part of every DUI sentence as a result. By law, probation for a DUI must be between 3 years and 5 years.Probation in this context doesn’t mean a probation officer is assigned to your case, or that you need to check in with probation or be monitored.  Probation for a DUI case is “informal”, or “summary” probation, and is unsupervised. “Probation” — the root of the word — literally means proving.The way that DUI probation is viewed by the judge is that you are given a lesser sentence, usually at or near the minimum sentence for DUI, and potential greater punishment, such as jail time, is hanging above your head, not to be utilized as long as you do not violate your sentence or the law during probation.
DUI probation is still not easy. There are rules you have to follow and actions you have to take to complete your probation, and there are potential penalties with both the DMV and the Court if you violate probation, even if your DMV hearing or your sentencing were long ago. There are two types of DUI probation you should know about: the general probation that comes with every DUI charge, and “alternative sentencing” that may be used instead of jail time.

2. DMV Consequences of Probation for DUI

DUI probation in California lasts anywhere from three to five years. Once you are on probation, the DMV considers you on special status, with special rules.

2A. Terms of DUI Probation

The terms of DUI probation for both the court and the DMV include:

  • You agree not to commit any misdemeanor or felony crime during your probation. If you do, the consequences will be that you will have that new criminal case, plus a probation violation, meaning you are fighting two separate cases. (Note that infractions, such as traffic tickets, or parking tickets do not violate probation unless they are tied to a larger crime that is a misdemeanor or a felony). Driving without a license, or without car insurance, are misdemeanors, and that does violate your probation.)
  • You agree to submit to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine test) if you are arrested on a new DUI charge.
  • You agree not to drive with any alcohol in your system. That means any amount that can be measured.

“Measurable alcohol in your system” is an important distinction. Normally, a person can drive in California with alcohol in their system as long as it’s less than .08% blood alcohol concentration or does not impair their ability to drive safely.

Many adults can drink one or even two drinks and still potentially be under that limit. This limit no longer applies to you. If you are pulled over with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system, whether it is from a drink hours ago, from cough syrup or medicine, or from “just a sip”, it is considered a probation violation.

2B. Terms of Your Court Sentence Probation

Your sentence from your court case will have certain terms as well.  Those may include:

  • Paying fines;
  • Attending alcohol education classes or treatment programs.
  • Paying restitution to the people you injured with your DUI, or whose property you damaged.
  • Serving community service.
  • Roadside work for Caltrans, the California transportation agency.
  • Serving jail time, either through jail or via DUI alternative sentencing. House arrest or electronic monitoring. Electronic monitoring uses an ankle bracelet that can check your blood alcohol level. This is equivalent to being ordered not to drink at all, and is usually used only for repeat offenders and those with an alcohol addiction.

Your probation sentence may include several of these elements, or other elements. These are the most common, and probation, an alcohol school, and fines are the bare minimum in sentencing for a DUI case.

If you are given a form of alternative sentencing, you will need to complete both it and the normal “general” probation period.

3. What Happens If You Violate Your Probation?

You can violate your DUI probation by driving without a license, driving on a suspended license, not carrying insurance, or failing to complete any part of your sentence to the court. Having another DUI while you are on probation for the first will of course also be a violation. The penalties for any DUI probation can be serious.

Do not take any chances with driving while on probation and always make sure you complete your sentence terms, including submitting proof of completion documents, and paying your fines and fees as early in time as you possibly can.

Any probation violation carries a penalty, and that penalty can be jail.

4. Making the Most of Probation

Orange County DUI AttorneyIn most DUI cases, probation is a good thing. It helps you avoid jail time and reduce your sentence with a promise that you’ll not violate the law and will do everything you promised to do to the court. But it’s hard to argue for community service instead of jail if you don’t have an attorney.

The best thing you can do with a probation violation or a DUI case is to have an experienced DUI lawyer professionally represent you. You can always contact the author of this article, Orange County DUI Attorney Robert Miller at Miller & Associates for a free consultation regarding your case or probation violation in Orange County.

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