Nevada DUI probation revocation hearings explained
If you were convicted of a first or second DUI, instead of sending you to jail, the judge might have suspended your sentence and imposed probation.
As a condition of your Nevada DUI probation, you were expected you to comply with certain restrictions. If you fail to follow even one of them, the judge has the ability to revoke your probation and impose the suspended sentence.
Since courts typically impose a 6-month suspended sentence for a first or second Nevada DUI, a revocation of your Nevada DUI probation can mean spending up to half a year in jail.
To help you better understand Nevada's DUI probation revocation consequences, our Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. What is Nevada DUI probation?
- 2. What happens if I violate my DUI probation?
- 3. Can I contest the revocation of my DUI probation?
- 4. The Nevada probation revocation hearing
- 5. What happens if I win my DUI probation revocation hearing?
Probation serves the purpose of rehabilitation rather than punishment. A judge will often sentence you to probation if he or she thinks you deserve a second (or even a third) chance.
However, in exchange for this consideration, DUI probation carries a strict set of requirements. These requirements can include some or all of the following, depending on the nature and severity of your offense:
- Mandatory Nevada DUI school and Victim Impact Panel attendance;
- Random drug testing (for DUI of drugs);
- Community service;
- Substance abuse counseling;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle;
- Regular meetings with your probation officer; and
- Not getting another DUI or other criminal conviction.
If you fail to comply with any of the conditions of your DUI probation, the judge has several options:
- Allow your probation to continue as it was;
- Permit you to continue probation under more restrictive conditions; or
- Revoke your probation and sentence you to jail time and/or fines – up to the maximum permitted for your previously suspended DUI offense.
Before the judge can revoke your probation, you must be giving the right to a probation revocation hearing. You may hear this referred to as a "probation violation hearing" or a "revo hearing."
A revo hearing is like a mini-trial, only decided by a judge rather than a jury.
You have many of the same rights at a probation revocation hearing as you do at any other trial, including (without limitation):
- The right to testify;
- The right to be represented by a lawyer;
- The right to present evidence; and
- The right to call and cross-examine witnesses.
However, DUI probation revocation hearings can be harder to win than regular criminal trials.
In a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove you guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. But at a probation violation hearing, the only issue is whether you violated your probation. The prosecutor does not need to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt -- only by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that he or she only needs to prove that it was more likely than not that you violated one or more conditions of your probation.
This is why retaining an experienced DUI defense lawyer at a probation violation hearing is as important – if not more important – than hiring an attorney when you are arrested for DUI. And if your alleged DUI probation violation was another DUI, having a caring Nevada DUI lawyer on your side becomes more important still.
There are several ways in which your probation officer can learn that you have allegedly violated one or more terms of your probation. These can include (without limitation):
- You miss a meeting with your probation officer;
- You fail to provide forms showing you have attended Nevada DUI school, drug counseling or other classes as ordered by the court; or
- You are arrested for another DUI or some other criminal offense.
The probation offer will then file a report with the court and the court will schedule a DUI revocation hearing.
You will be notified in writing of the date, time and place or your DUI probation violation hearing. If the probation violation was failure to attend DUI school or a probation meeting, the hearing will take place within a reasonable period of time following the alleged violation.
If, however, you were accused of a new DUI or another crime, the revocation hearing will most likely be delayed until your criminal case has been tried or dismissed, or a plea bargain has been reached and entered.
If the judge rules in your favor, your DUI probation will continue as it was before.
If you lose your DUI probation hearing, however, the judge has the option to leave things as they were, modify the terms of the probation to make it harsher, or revoke your probation altogether.
Even if you lose the hearing, however, an experienced Nevada DUI defense attorney can often present a compelling argument and evidence for leaving your probation intact.
Accused of violating your Nevada DUI probation? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know has been accused of a DUI probation violation, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our compassionate Las Vegas and Reno DUI defense lawyers have a great deal of experience defending clients at DUI probation revocation hearings. Whether you have been wrongfully accused or you just made a mistake -- we will fight to preserve your freedom.
To schedule your free consultation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or provide us with as much info as you can via the form on this page.
We look forward to getting started helping you to figure out the best defense for your Nevada DUI probation violation hearing.
To learn about DUI probation revocation hearings in California, please see our article on California Probation Violation Hearings.