The bottom line is, if you do something that causes a probation violation in a DUI case, you're going to get punished by the judge who initially sentenced you in your case. That punishment will depend on what the violation relates to. If you get a new DUI, that would be a severe violation of your probation, and you'd probably be looking at a jail sentence.
If, on the other hand, you just missed one of your classes or were kicked out of your alcohol program and need to re-enroll, that would still be serious but nowhere near as serious — and you could probably avoid jail time, especially if that were your first offense.
When it comes to DUI cases, there are what I would consider both internal and external probation violations. What that means is, an internal violation has to do with either not doing something the court ordered you to do or messing something up within the terms and conditions of your probation that were imposed against you at the time of your sentencing.
An external violation involves doing something outside of your probation, such as picking up a new criminal case. All probation cases have a term and condition that the person must obey all laws.
So technically, picking up any new criminal case or violating any law would violate your probation, and subject you to jail time and other punishments. Suppose you have a probation violation in a DUI case. In that case, you need to either use the attorney that initially represented you in your case or get another attorney to represent you and go in there.
Then, explain why you violated your DUI probation and try to get you another chance, avoid jail time, and avoid severe penalties that will impact your ability to work, move, or drive.
Probation Violation Hearing
So, the best thing to do if you have a probation violation is to get all of your paperwork in order. Talk to your attorney about it. Come up with a game plan on exactly how you're going to deal with the probation violation.
What arguments can be made, and then let your attorney go in there and talk to the judge and the prosecutor. Often, in these probation violations in DUI cases, what the prosecutor says carries a lot of weight with the judge.
So, if your attorney can convince the prosecutor — which I do all the time — not to argue for jail, there's a good chance you won't get jail on the case, even though it's ultimately up to the judge. If it's handled the right way, the prosecutor is not arguing for jail; you have a reasonable attorney, a good rationale, and a reason why you violated your probation, then you can end up with a successful result.
Also, you can get a probation violation hearing where evidence can be put on, and you can try to defend your probation violation. You would use your attorney to do that, and you would only do it if it would be in your best interest and if you had an excellent chance to either win or show the judge the mitigating circumstances to avoid a harsh penalty.
How to Get the Best Result in a DUI Probation Violation?
For those people who have been convicted of DUI, are on probation, and find themselves on the wrong end of a probation violation, you should hire an attorney immediately.
What the main driving factor is going to be and what happens to you is how effectively your defense attorney can argue for you at the probation violation hearing, or negotiate for you with the judge and prosecutor, what the behavior is that caused the probation violation.
In other words, did you not do what you were ordered to do by the court, which would be an internal violation, or did you get a new case which would be an external violation?
Danger to the Community
The judges and prosecutors look at the behavior and whether it is dangerous to the community. If so, you can bet your bottom dollar that the prosecutors will try to put you in jail or prison if you have a felony probation violation for a DUI matter.
So, you must figure out whom you will hire as your attorney. I've been doing this now for 30 years. I've worked for the DA's office. I've worked for a superior court judge and defended people like you at probation violation hearings since the early 1990s.
So, I have much experience and know how to figure out what it will take to keep you out of custody and minimize the damaging impact of a DUI probation violation.
Review of the Case Details
The first thing I'm going to want to figure out is why you were put on probation in the first place:
- What type of matter you had?
- Whether you have a criminal record,
- How dangerous was your behavior?
- How you're doing on probation?
- Are you doing everything you were ordered to?
- Have you had any prior violations of probation?
- What were the facts that led to the new probation violation?
- Is it some ticky-tack violation, or is it a serious violation?
We're also going to have to look at who the judge is. Some judges are more challenging than others when it comes to DUI cases. We've got to figure out what we can do and what we can say to bring you the best result to keep you out of jail or prison.
If the case is a felony, get back on track so you can complete your DUI probation, stay out of custody, get the case expunged if possible, and even get it reduced to a misdemeanor if you're charged with a felony.
If you need the best, if you're appearing before a judge and being charged with a probation violation on your DUI case, pick up the phone immediately. Call the Hedding Law Firm and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.