California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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If people violate a term of their probation in a DUI case, a probation officer or police officer can take them into custody pending a probation violation hearing. At the hearing, the judge has the discretion to reinstate the probation, modify the probation and impose stricter terms, or revoke the probation and place the offenders in custody. A court will typically impose on a defendant with misdemeanor probation for a first-time misdemeanor DUI.
A few common probations terms imposed in DUI cases include:
Note that judges may impose other penalties in DUI cases (either in addition to probation or in lieu of it). Some of the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction may include:
If someone violates the terms or conditions of probation after a DUI offense, law enforcement can arrest the person.
In addition, a judge may issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest.1
Once arrested, the offender must attend a probation violation hearing.2
A prosecutor presents evidence at this hearing as to the nature of the probation violation. The defendant or his/her criminal defense attorney/defense lawyer then presents evidence as to why or if the defendant violated probation.
A judge then makes a ruling as to whether you violated any of the conditions or terms of your probation.
If a defendant did not violate the terms, then nothing happens. The defendant stays on probation and the conditions remain the same as before the hearing.
If a judge says a defendant did violate the terms, then the judge may:
If a revocation, then the judge orders the defendant to serve his/her underlying jail sentence or prison sentence.3
Note that there is a lower standard of proof at a probation violation hearing in comparison to a criminal trial.
At a hearing, a prosecutor only has to prove that a defendant violated a probation term by a preponderance of the evidence.4 This burden of proof means that it is more likely than not that a defendant committed a probation violation.
In contrast, prosecutors must prove in a criminal trial that a defendant committed a criminal offense beyond all reasonable doubt.
If a defendant violates DUI probation, and the violation is a criminal offense, then the defendant will face new criminal charges in addition to his/her DUI. These new charges could result in a new set of penalties.
Upon a DUI conviction, a judge may award the offender with probation. DUI probation allows a defendant to avoid jail time by agreeing to abide by certain terms and conditions.
Some of these terms and conditions may include:
Note that if a person on probation is guilty of drunk driving, then this gets treated as a new DUI charge. A defendant then would have to address the new DUI arrest and the underlying probation violation.
Judges typically grant misdemeanor (or summary) probation in DUI cases involving first-time convictions for misdemeanor DUI.
Probation becomes less likely in cases where it is a defendant’s second or subsequent conviction for DUI.
Note that a judge has the discretion to impose other penalties besides probation in DUI cases. Some of these other penalties for a first-time DUI conviction include:
Persons charged with DWI should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney/DUI lawyer for help. A skilled lawyer will provide legal advice as to how a person can best minimize the criminal penalties following a DUI charge.
Most law firms and law offices provide free consultations. This means you can talk to a lawyer without spending a dime.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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