What You Can Expect During a DUI Probation
If you get pulled over after drinking and driving, it’s possible that you could be charged with and convicted of driving under the influence, or DUI. There are many negative consequences you could face, but it’s possible that you’ll avoid serving a lengthy jail sentence.
In many states, DUI probation is an alternative that a court can grant which will lessen some of the penalties involved with the conviction, while also giving you rules to follow that will decrease your likelihood of having a repeat offense.
Nearly every state enforces a probation period, but the exact rules and terms will vary based on where you reside and where the incident occurred.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you can expect if you’re arrested for drunken driving, and what may happen during your probation.
What Could Happen if You Drive Under the Influence
If you drive under the influence, it’s possible that you could be arrested for DUI. An officer will stop your vehicle, ask you questions, and conduct an investigation to determine if this is the case.
You may be asked to do a field sobriety test which consists of series of tests like walking a straight line, reciting your ABC’s, or standing on one foot while counting to determine if you’re impaired. Some states will also administer a breathalyzer to see if you are over the legal limit in your state for alcohol in your blood.
If you are, then you may:
Sometimes, probation is offered instead of jail time, but each case is different from how it’s administered.
What to Expect During a DUI Probation
There are several different consequences of a DUI that will vary based on your state and the crime itself. Here we’ll examine the most common that you may experience if you are put on probation following a conviction.
Driver’s License Suspension
Depending on the laws in your state, it’s possible that your driver’s license will be suspended for the duration of your probation. In some cases, your officials may go so far as to revoke your license entirely while other states are more lenient and may impose minor restrictions on your driving.
Being unable to drive is inconvenient, but for some people, it could cause significant hardships. If driving is a critical part of your job, like if you are a commercial driver, you may be unable to work for several months or years following your DUI.
In these situations, you’ll want to consult a lawyer to attempt to negotiate a reinstatement of your license on your behalf.
They will request a DMV suspension hearing to try to reduce the length of your suspension or to seek special provisions, like allowing you to drive to and from work or during specific hours, to help lessen that hardship.
If those arguments do not work, it’s vital to follow the rules of your probation and to find an alt
Devices that Monitor Alcohol Consumption
While you’re on probation, you may also be required to use or wear a device that regularly monitors your alcohol consumption. Particularly, if this is not your first offense, the state may require you to wear one of two types of trackers.
The first is a bracelet that goes around your ankle that regularly tests the sweat on your skin to check to see if there is any alcohol content. The device is permanent, and you’ll be required to wear it all the time. It also takes randomized readings throughout the day and night to ensure that you’re compliant with the conditions of your probation.
The second contraption that you may be required to use is a breathalyzer that attaches to the dashboard of your car and links into your ignition system. To start your vehicle, you’ll need to blow into the Interlock device to prove that you have not been drinking.
If you’re required to use either of these systems, they will automatically report back to your probation officer. If you violate your terms, it’s very likely that you will be caught. Know that the penalties for these types of infractions vary by state and can be extremely severe, and it’s in your best interest to not participate in this type of behavior.
Classes About Substance Abuse
Typically, you’ll also be required to attend classes or group meetings that address substance abuse issues while you’re on probation for your DUI.
The type of classes will depend on the conditions of your probation, and also vary from state to state.
Often, these programs will include information on drug and alcohol use and abuse, and how to heal, recover, and prevent future DUI’s. You may be required to attend classes for several weeks, months, or even a year or more.
Random Drug Testing
Often, you’ll need to be available to submit to random drug testing at various days and times during your probation. Even if you’re already using other devices to monitor your behavior as it relates to drinking, you will still need to participate in unscheduled tests whenever asked by your probation officer.
These are often requested to make sure that you haven’t discovered a way to get around a monitoring device, or that you haven’t started using other substances that could also impair your ability to drive. This is just one other way that your probation officer will monitor whether or not you’re complying with your sentence.
Maintain a Clean Criminal Record
Although it’s always a good rule of thumb to avoid criminal and legal trouble, it’s especially crucial if you’re on probation for a DUI. Your assigned officer will be closely monitoring your actions and activity, and if you are charged with any additional criminal offenses, the repercussions could be severe.
The purpose of probation is to help you get back on the path of living a healthy, safe lifestyle and to avoid any criminal behaviors. If you commit another crime during this period, the officer and the court may take it as a sign that you haven’t learned your lesson.
For example, if you get pulled over for speeding or running a stop sign, that could constitute a probation violation. If you are charged with a new crime during this time frame, not only will you be prosecuted for that infraction, but you’ll also be brought into court for not honoring the terms of your probation. This can have additional, and sometimes severe consequences.
It’s critical that you avoid any form of criminal activity while you’re monitored by an officer.
Pay All Your Fines
If you’re granted a DUI probation, you will also be required to pay fines to make reparations for the behavior. In addition to the court-issued penalties, there could be numerous other fees that you need to pay as well. These include paying for:
Car Insurance Rates to Go Up
Another unpleasant result of a DUI is that your car insurance rates will likely go up. If you are still allowed to drive, you’ll need to carry insurance on your vehicle, and your carrier will be notified that you have this infraction on your record.
Because you will be viewed as a higher risk from a liability standpoint, the company can elevate your rates and continue charging you higher premiums for months and years to come. Some drivers pay inflated prices for as long as five years after a DUI.
DUI Probation Summary
There are many different types of penalties you could face if you get a DUI. If you’re placed on probation, you’ll be required to follow a particular set of rules, and the exact requirements will vary based on how your state handles the probation process.
Other factors, like the seriousness of the charge and your criminal history, may also weigh into the steps you need to take during this time.
Although the process isn’t designed to be particularly enjoyable, or even very easy, it is possible to follow the rules and get through the period as painlessly as possible. It’s vital that you do everything required and avoid any new criminal charges so that you don’t breach the agreement.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, be sure to talk with a lawyer about your specific situation and get the facts about the DUI process and probation options in your state. They can help guide you and ensure that you are treated well and receive a fair probation for the circumstances.