You’re not free outside the prison walls. More than three million Americans were on probation on December 31, 2020. That’s roughly 1% of the country.
DUI probation lets you avoid incarceration, but you still need to follow the regulations of police officials. Before you start your probation, you need to know everything about it so you avoid legal problems.
What terms do you need to follow while you are on probation? What are the penalties for DUI convictions or probation violations? How can you live a good life while following probation rules?
Terms of DUI Probation
You must follow a number of terms of your probation. Every probation situation is different, though some conditions are more common than others.
In general, people on probation for drinking and driving must avoid further legal trouble. Being arrested violates your probation, even if you are not charged or convicted of anything.
A probation officer will monitor your case and make sure you are following the laws. You can meet with them to discuss how things are going and get advice on what to do. They can also visit you at your home or work, and you must talk with them.
Probation officers can inspect your home to make sure you don’t have drugs. They may talk to your family to learn more about your life.
You cannot use alcohol or drugs. If you use prescription medications, you should tell your probation officer and describe their side effects. You may be subjected to random drug testing and must cooperate with each test request.
You may need to attend a rehabilitation program or go to a sobriety group. However, there is no requirement that you go to a specific program or group. Explore your options and find one that can help you learn DUI information.
If you want to travel outside the state, you may need to get permission from your probation officer. If you’re traveling for work or a family emergency, you will likely get approved. But you may not be able to go on vacation.
Even if you are on probation, you are subject to other penalties under DUI laws. As with the terms of probation, the exact penalties vary from case to case. But there are a few penalties that most people experience.
A first-time offense of drinking and driving is a Class A misdemeanor. In addition to probation, you may need to pay a fine of $500 to $2,500.
Your license may be suspended for one year, but you may qualify for a MDDP Permit.
Even if you have a permit, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device. You must blow into the device in order to activate the engine. If it detects a substantial amount of alcohol on your breath, the engine will not activate.
Some drivers are required to perform community service. If you were driving with a child in your car, you may be required to do community service with a children’s group.
A second-time DUI offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Even if you receive probation, you may go to jail for at least five days. Your maximum jail sentence is one year.
Your license may be revoked for five years. You can apply for a driving permit, but you are less likely to receive one than a first-time offender. You may also need to go through an alcohol treatment program.
If you had a high blood alcohol level, you may go to jail for at least one week. If a child was in your car, your charge will become a felony, which carries significant penalties.
Consequences of Violating Probation
The consequences of violating probation depend on what the violation is. If you do not complete a required alcohol treatment program, you may receive a verbal warning from the judge. They may decide to extend your probation term and require you to provide proof that you have completed a program.
Serious violations include getting arrested for a DUI or public intoxication. The judge may revoke your probation, and you may be sent to jail to complete your sentence.
You can ask for a court hearing if you are accused of violating your probation. It is similar to a trial in that a prosecutor will present evidence to show you are guilty. You can hire a defense attorney.
Tips for Living Under DUI Probation
Schedule a meeting with your probation officer at the start of your probation period. Get a list of the conditions of your probation and the contact information for your officer. Whenever you have questions, you should give them a call so you don’t accidentally violate your conditions.
While you are on probation, you can hold a job, find housing, and attend to your family and friends. Try to live the best life possible and take care of yourself.
Getting Help With DUI Probation
DUI probation is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. You must meet with a probation officer, pursue alcohol treatment, and avoid further legal trouble. You may receive additional penalties like fines and license suspensions.
If you violate your terms, you may go to prison. Get complete information about your conditions and try to avoid any situations that can result in further DUI charges. Pursue a job and improve yourself however you can.
If you have any issues with your driver’s license during probation, contact John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd.