When people plead guilty to a California DUI charge, they usually get placed on probation. The court imposes certain “terms and conditions of probation.” Violating these terms and conditions may result in a bench warrant for one's arrest, a probation violation, and possible jail time.
The terms of probation consist of affirmative duties and prohibitions. Affirmative duties include, for example, enrolling in and completing California DUI school, and completing a MADD victim impact class. Prohibitions include refraining from breaking the law, from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in one's system, and from driving without proper liability insurance.
Most bench warrants get issued for people failing to complete the affirmative requirements. For example, one must enroll in the DUI school within 21 days of sentencing. Most judges require you to return to court with a “proof of enrollment” within 30 days of sentencing, and a “proof of completion” within 6 months.
Merely completing DUI school is not sufficient. The person must also return to court and show proof. Neglecting to follow through on this triggers a bench warrant, and the police can arrest you and bring you to court in custody.
If the person enrolled in and completed DUI school, judges will usually just give a verbal warning about failing to bring proof to the court. But a person who ignores the DUI school altogether could see his probation violated and be put in jail for up to the maximum term—which, in a first-time DUI case, is six months. Learn more in our about article on California DUI penalties.