After you are convicted of a DUI offense, you will be sentenced to a compulsory term of probation. You might be required to pay fines and follow your convicting judge’s instructions while on probation and avoid any additional run-ins with the law. If things go as planned, your probation might be terminated within 5 years. However, the law, especially California law, requires you to work hard to escape from further legal consequences.
If you fail to fulfill all the probation conditions or default any of the agreement related to your probation, you will be deemed to have violated the probation terms. Unless you can negotiate with a judge for an alternate arrangement, you might end up in prison. Luckily, Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney can help you if you find yourself in a position that might land you in jail.
Defining Probation Violation
When a DUI offender is facing charges in court, his or her initial concern is whether he or she will go to jail. However, as explained above, other sentencing options can be made which is called probation – a way to serve your DUI without going to jail.
However, what many people don’t understand is that being placed on probation is a severe punishment that can be hard to fulfill. Some people end up not meeting the end of your agreement by violating this probation, which leads to even more severe punishment. This is when a DUI offender is said to have violated probation.
Common Probation Terms and Conditions
Regardless of where you are convicted of a DUI offense, your probation will include universal features. They include the following:
- Enrolling in a drug-or alcohol-counseling course – There is a high possibility that you will be compiled to enroll in a 3 months counseling course.
- Suspended driving license – Your driving license might be suspended for a few months when your probation period starts.
- Restricted license – Alternatively, your attorney can negotiate for a restricted license that you can use to drive to business, school, or treatment.
- Restriction on freedom and behavior – Lastly, your probation might include restriction to your movement and behavior.
Misdemeanor Probation vs. Felony Probation
Misdemeanor probation is probation that issued as a result of a misdemeanor conviction. It is also called summary probation or informal probation. The period of misdemeanor probation can last up to 5 years.
Felony probation is probation that is issued as a result of a felony conviction. It is also called formal probation. This probation is usually imposed for a period of 3 or 5 years.
There are two main differences between misdemeanor probation and felony probation:
- Felony probation requires the judge to obtain a probation report before making the sentence while a misdemeanor is optional.
- You are assigned a probation officer supervisor in case you are convicted with felony probation.
Probation Violation Hearings
You will undergo a probation violation hearing if you violate the terms and conditions of your probation. This is the time you will require to contact your DUI attorney to help you when the trial takes place; however, you also have some rights.
Your lawyer can help you to understand your rights, which include:
- The right to have a DUI attorney to represent you
- The right to have a witness and to force him or her to testify
- The right to present extenuating or mitigating circumstances that might have led to a probation violation
- The right to testify
- The right to access all evidence against you
Probation violation hearings are a common occurrence in California due to the strict terms and conditions imposed by the court. For instance, about 30% of probationers usually get modified or revoked probation due to the violation.
Some of the most notable misdemeanor, as well as felony probation violations, include:
- Failure to show up for a court appointment or date
- Committing a new DUI offense
- Failure to report to the assigned probation officer
- Willful failure to pay fines or restitution
- Not failing or submitting to a drug test
If you have violated any of the above (or other probation conditions), a law enforcement personnel or your probation officer can arrest you and take you before a judge. Besides, a judge can also issue a warrant of arrest if you violate the probation conditions.
Probation Violation Probable Defenses
Being prepared with reasonable arguments can secure your freedom. Thus, you need to get a reputable DUI attorney to ensure that you present logical arguments. Some of the defenses that your attorney can put in place include:
Failing to meet any of the probation terms is detrimental, but it doesn’t mean that you will end up in prison or jail. If you come up with a good reason for not meeting any of the conditions, a court might find you not guilty and grant a reprieve.
In terms of “a good reason,” a medical emergency requiring your attention or involving yourself can get you out of trouble, but you should always consider other factors. It is advisable to talk to your lawyer before you make your argument.
Many offenders on probation find it difficult to pay all the fees and fines imposed by the court, and this can lead to further problems. However, if your lawyer can show that you tried your best to pay these fees, your good faith might be enough to keep you out of trouble for violating probation.
Organized and extensive financial records are required in such situations.
Getting a citation for a simple breach can be considered evidence of probation violation. It is also true if you are arrested for public drinking, but you are not charged.
If you can prove that you have exhibited the best behavior during your probation, excluding the current event, you might avoid jail time and additional penalties.
Probation Violation Penalties
After the hearing, the court can do 3 things: find you not guilty of violating your probation terms, modify your probation terms, or revoke your probation terms. The first scenario won’t affect your probation terms.
California Penal Code Section 1203.3 states that a judge has the power to change, revoke, or modify the order of execution or suspension of your conviction if you are found guilty. When the hearing concludes, you will be taken before a court for your recent sentencing.
The judge has the freedom to choose the consequences he or she will impose on you and will consider various factors like the seriousness of your violation, your violation history, your previous criminal records, and recommendations from the probation department.
After considering all these factors, you might find yourself facing the following probation violation penalties:
The judge might revoke your probation and enforce the original sentence
Judges are strict when it comes to a probation violation and are known to provide severe punishment for those who are found guilty. If the court suspended a sentence and commanded probation instead of prison or jail time, a probation violation can lead to its revocation and implementation of suspended prison time.
For instance, assume you were found guilty of a DUI offense that could have landed you in jail for up to 2 years and the court sentenced you to 2 years in county jail, but the ruling was suspended, and instead, you were granted probation. Moreover, now you have been found to have violated the terms of probation; the court can order the revocation of your probation and implementation of the 2 years jail sentence.
The judge might revoke probation and execute the maximum sentence recommended by the law
If you violate your probation terms, the court can revoke your probation and order the maximum punishment allowed by the law to be implemented.
For instance, if a person is convicted of a DUI that attracts a possible punishment of 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years in prison, the court might have placed him or her in probation and not sentenced him or her to prison. However, if the individual violates the probation, the judge can revoke the probation and sentence the guilty person up to 3 years in prison.
Mandatory community service
If your violation is not severe, the court might order an additional or new term for compulsory community service. Community service is among the lightest penalties that you can get after violating your probation in most counties.
The judge can also order compulsory anger management counseling. This will mainly depend on the nature of your probation violation and is often accompanied by mandatory treatment.
You might be required to undergo judge-ordered treatment for drugs or alcohol addiction or any other substance. However, the treatment ruling will come into effect if there is a substance involved.
This penalty can come into effect if an officer finds alcohol or drugs in your house during a routine inspection.
Extension of Probation
Formal probation usually ranges from 3 to 5 years in duration. Informal probation is a bit shorter and can last up to 3 years. However, there is a situation in which informal probation can last for up to 5 years, mainly when you are found guilty of violating the initial terms.
Additional conditions of probation
If you are placed on probation, you will, in most cases, stay out of prison or jail (but there are times you will be placed in jail in addition to serving the probation). However, you need to fulfill certain conditions during your probation period.
If you break one of the set conditions, the court might reach by adding more terms and conditions of probation and even make the current ones stricter. Some of these conditions include:
- Getting a job
- Avoiding drug or alcohol use
- Getting permission before you leave your county or California
- Complying with a restraining order (protective order)
- Submitting to alcohol or drug tests
- Reporting to a probation officer as required
- Refraining from owning a firearm
- Reporting to community service or public works projects
FAQs about Probation Violation
Q: How can I know if I have an informal probation violation?
In case you are accused of having violated misdemeanor probation, the following things might happen:
- The court issues a warrant of arrest and set a bail amount. This means that you can pay the bail amount to avoid being locked up.
- The court might send you a letter that advice you to appear before a judge. You will also get a bail amount when you appear before the judge.
In any case, you need to speak to a DUI attorney to accompany you to court to get a favorable outcome.
Q: What should you do if you are faced with a violation of probation charge?
Just because you have been placed on probation doesn’t mean that your case is over. Many people still find themselves in jail even after being given probation due to an alleged probation violation.
One thing that you should do is to avoid entering a plea to a probation violation until you understand the terms of said probation. Next, you should seek the services of a qualified DUI attorney to explore the way forward.
Q: What happens during a misdemeanor probation violation hearing?
A misdemeanor probation violation hearing aims to find out if you have violated any of the terms of your probation. A judge will listen to testimony during the hearing and decide if you are guilty or not.
The judge needs to find a “preponderance of the evidence” to find you guilty. This means that you should have violated your probation by 51%.
Q: What happens during a felony probation violation arraignment?
You will be notified of all your rights at a probation violation arraignment, such as the right to have a lawyer and others.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney is here to help you during your probation violation hearing. We are professionals with years of experience dealing with DUI cases and probation violation cases. Reach our Beverly Hills DUI Lawyer today at 323-464-6700 to work with one of the best attorneys in Los Angeles and Southern California.