I've been handling a lot of DUI probation violations lately, and it depends on why the person violated their probation. There are what are called internal and external violations.
An internal violation of a DUI probation is the judge orders you to do something or not to do something. You violate that term and condition of your DUI probation – either you don't do what you're supposed to, or for example, the judge orders you to abstain from drinking. You're caught drinking because you have a scram bracelet on or because law enforcement catches you, and you're under the influence of alcohol.
An external probation violation has to do with you doing something outside your probation that violates your probation. A great example of this would be if you pick up a new DUI case or pick up a new criminal case that would be an external violation of the DUI probation.
Depending on how severe the violation is, that will determine what the judge does with you. For example, if you don't do your DUI class, the judge can give you a chance to do it again, or if it's severe enough. You're just not doing it at all. The judge perceives that your ignoring their order, then the judge can throw you in jail for some time, then let you out, and you'll be reordered to do the DUI class again.
Driving on Suspended License
Other examples of probation violations in DUI cases have to do with driving a vehicle either when your license is suspended because of the DUI or driving a car under the influence of alcohol when you've been ordered not to have any drink in your system you're driving a vehicle.
Another big one that we see in the San Fernando Valley court and the Downtown Los Angeles courts is that there's such an H20 squad, which is a squad that tracks people who drink alcohol and drive.
So, for example, if somebody goes to court, the H20 squad will have a description of them and all the information related to them – may be their vehicle or license plate number – and they will follow them from the court back to their vehicle. And if they're not supposed to drive, they'll pull them over and cite them into court. They will file a probation violation and a new case against them if intoxicated.
Danger Level to Community
So, they take these DUI probation violation cases very seriously, and there's no one correct answer or solution as far as a DUI probation violation in LA County goes. It depends on the totality of the circumstances, your prior criminal record, and the most significant thing the judges and prosecutors are looking at – in my experience when it comes to DUI probation violations – is your danger level to the community.
In other words, the more dangerous they perceive you as being to the community, the more likely they are to throw you in jail or prison – the more likely they are to put a bunch of restrictions on you.
So, suppose you have a DUI probation violation. In that case, your best bet is to find a local lawyer who is familiar with the courthouse where your case is pending and does a lot of DUI cases, and knows what it takes to get the best result when it comes to a DUI probation violation because a lot of times what they do is when they call you in court for a DUI probation violation they don't mess around.
They don't keep continuing the case and do what they do with the open issues. Often, because you're on probation to them, the judge has the power and authority just to take you into custody.
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You want to be ready to go and have an attorney at the ready, right from the beginning, when it comes to one of these probation violations; because it's tough to fight your case when you're in custody, it's much easier to deal with your issue when you're out of custody.
So, your attorney, and of course, I do this when I handle my DUI cases – and the person is on probation, and there's an argument that you violated your probation – you have to go on ready to go.
Often, the case is going to have to be resolved right there and then, or what ends up happening is, your client ends up languishing in jail and just sitting there waiting for the next court date. You don't want that, so you want to be ready to go, prepared to resolve the case, and get the best result you can for the DUI probation violation.