Probation For a DUI: What Happens If I Violate?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or substances (DUI) that impairs driving ability can result in very serious consequences. First time offenders are often given probation rather than serving jail time. Given that it is a privilege and not a right, in exchange for this opportunity, judges issue probation conditions of which probation officers ensure compliance. When probation requirements are not met, individuals on probation could be charged with violations that also have serious consequences.


DUI probation generally lasts from two to as many as five years. Offenders usually still must pay fines, work in community service, submit to testing, report to probation officers, may not possess weapons and usually must refrain from traveling unless it is work related. However, their whereabouts must be known at all times. Otherwise, offenders risk probation violations.

Consequences of Violations

DUI probation violators may face serious ramifications that can include extended probation terms, higher sanctions and additional treatment. Some judges may even sentence offenders to jail for felony DUI.

For instance, should an offender become involved in an injury causing accident, judges may impose further sentencing that is much more severe and difficult to manage. Should an offender be charged with a probation violation, they require the guidance of a qualified lawyer to help guide them through the process.

Legal Process

Below outlines the process after it is believed that a probation violation has occurred.

  • When an officer becomes aware of another accident caused by a person on probation for DUI they will issue an affidavit to a judge who signs a warrant for arrest. While minor infractions may merely require a hearing, causing an accident is another matter and depends upon a variety of circumstances.
  • Once warrants are issued, DUI probation violators are arrested. Local deputies generally serve the warrant and make the arrest or an offender may turn themselves in to serve a jail sentence. It is important to note that for certain crimes or while on a felony probation, officers may arrest violators immediately without a warrant.
  • A court date will be issued upon arrival at jail. It is important that your defense attorney is made immediately aware of this date.
  • The driver license may be suspended or revoked for probation violations. Experienced attorneys with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP warn of several complications that can arise from the loss of a driver’s license, such as job loss and increased costs for alternative transportation. In some cases, it may be possible to obtain a limited driving permit to drive to work, school or for other necessary tasks. However, if caught driving to an unapproved location with suspended or revoked licenses, additional consequences may be faced.
  • At the probation violation hearing, prosecutors introduce evidence of what conduct violated the terms of the probation. Unlike criminal trials, prosecutors need only prove their case using a preponderance of the evidence.
  • The violator’s attorney may call witnesses to assist with the case. The attorney questions any witnesses and presents the facts. Then the State may cross examine witnesses.
  • Once all evidence is presented, there are a variety of sentencing scenarios that may occur. If found guilty, the sentence may include any punishment that may have been received prior to the violation for the DUI. For example, this may involve serving jail time. If only probation was appropriate for the first offense, it may be possible to only get probation.
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While the outcome of a probation violation hearing depends a great deal upon the original charge, the new circumstances will weight heavily upon the results. Because sentencing depends so much upon how the case is presented, anyone who violates their DUI probation needs to enlist the services of a qualified lawyer as soon as possible.


Freelance author, J.L. Williams shares informative articles on legal choices and resources so that people can make informed decisions about how to proceed. Attorneys with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP are available to assist San Bernadino, CA residents seeking helpful resources on DUI and its related issues.


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