What is probation?

Probation is the series of punishment restrictions established by the court for offenders who are not incarcerated. It is a way for the court to monitor that you are obeying the law and fulfilling your punishments for your conviction without the recourse of jail supervision.

What happens during probation?

Once you are sentenced, you will be assigned a probation officer. (Note, probation and parole officers can be interchangeable, but usually parole officers are for offenders who are released from jail and probation officers supervise offenders who don’t have a jail sentence.) Your probation officer will supervise you throughout your probation and report back to the judge who sentenced you.

Your probation may include a required number of community service, a nightly curfew, residing in a sober living environment, work furlough, wearing an electronic monitoring device, and not being able to leave your jurisdiction. The components of your probation depend on the level of severity of your crime.

In terms of DUI penalties, the typical terms of probation for a first-time DUI conviction include community service, attending alcohol education classes, and a ban on alcoholic beverages. Your probation officer may require you to submit to routine substance abuse tests.  Oftentimes DUI offenders may also be required to seek treatment for substance abuse or psychological issues. Finally, many people on probation are required to install an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer test that you plug into your vehicle. In order to start your car, you must breathe into the device. If the interlock detects alcohol, your car will not start and your probation officer, as well as the court, will be notified of this violation.

How long is probation?

Depending on the severity of your DUI and if there were any aggravating circumstances, your probation could last from a few months to many years.

What happens if I get arrested during my probation?

Since you’re under the watchful eye of your probation officer, who reports to the judge who sentenced you, if you get arrested and convicted again, the punishments may be severely worse. If your arrest was a DUI, you may get your license revoked altogether or even be forced to spend mandatory time in jail. I’m worried I won’t qualify for probation for my DUI arrest. Will I definitely go to jail?

Unfortunately, it can be possible that you are required to spend time in jail, even after a first DUI arrest.  Right now, you’re probably not able to believe that you still have options, but the truth is you do. With an experienced DUI attorney, your future is in your own hands. You may think you’re all alone but remember that there is a local DUI attorney near you who has helped countless people who were in the exact same situation as you. Above all, it is possible to avoid jail and keep their driving privileges.