If you plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor DUI in Nevada, the judge can:
- suspend your six-month jail sentence and
- impose probation instead.
To remain on Nevada DUI probation, you must comply with certain restrictions such as attending:
If you violate any of your probation terms, the judge can:
- revoke your probation,
- un-suspend your sentence, and
- remand you to jail for six months.
(If your case is for a second-time DUI, you must serve 10 days in jail even if you are granted probation.)
To help you better understand Nevada’s DUI probation revocation consequences, our Las Vegas DUI 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?
- Additional resources
1. What is Nevada DUI probation?
Probation serves the purpose of rehabilitation rather than punishment. A judge will often sentence you to probation if they think 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 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.
2. What happens if I violate my DUI probation?
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.
3. Can I contest the revocation of my DUI probation?
Before the judge can revoke your probation, you must be given 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. Though 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 they only need 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. If your alleged DUI probation violation was another DUI, having a caring Nevada DUI lawyer on your side becomes more important still.
4. The Nevada probation revocation hearing
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 of your DUI probation violation hearing. If the probation violation was a 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.
5. What happens if I win my DUI probation revocation hearing?
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.
For more in-depth information on DUI probation, refer to these scholarly articles:
- The Challenges of Screening DUI Offenders – Criminology and Public Policy.
- Probation and the Drunk Driver: A Cost of Being MADD – Federal Probation.
- Alcoholics Anonymous as a Condition of Drunk Driving Probation: When Does It Amount to Establishment of Religion – Columbia Law Review.
- Drug Use and Criminal Activity Among Rural Probationers With DUI Histories – International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.
- A mobile support system to assist DUI offenders on probation in reducing DUI relapse – UbiComp ’17: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers.