If you were convicted of an Orange County DUI, your sentence will most likely include a period of time on probation. Probation is a part of many DUI sentences. Probation is a period of time, set by the court, where you have to abide by agreed upon terms and are held accountable to the court if you violate those terms. For felony DUI probation, you will likely be supervised by a probation officer as well. The purpose is to make sure you’re not drinking and driving again and that you’re being a productive member of society. Probation also allows people to still be under the control of the court, but without the need to put them in jail or prison, thus saving the government a significant amount of money. With most Orange County felony DUI convictions, your probation period will be from 3 to 5 years.
Probation isn’t easy to follow. There are a lot of rules you have to follow and if you are on felony probation, you have to check in with your probation officer quite frequently. Sometimes people make mistakes and violate the terms of their probation. A probation violation is serious and can lead to additional time in jail or even a state prison sentence. If you suspect you might have violated your probation, the most important thing to do is contact your Orange County DUI probation violation lawyer immediately. Don’t try to deal with this violation on your own. If you don’t have a strong defense on your side, you could end up in jail again for the probation violation.
Possible Probation Violations
The following are some examples of things that might be a probation violation for an Orange County DUI conviction. However, each case is different:
- Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system: It doesn’t matter if the amount of alcohol in your system is very small. Any amount could be a violation of your probation terms;
- You refuse a breath, blood, or urine test if you are pulled over due to suspected intoxicated driving;
- You fail to show proof of enrollment in a court-ordered program, such as a DUI education class or an in-patient or out-patient alcohol rehabilitation facility;
- You fail to complete any court-ordered programs;
- You don’t pay your fines; or
- You don’t show up for mandatory court appearances.
If you do any of the acts listed above, you may have violated your probation. But let’s be clear, you haven’t technically violated your DUI probation in Orange County until a judge makes a finding on the record that you have done so. This is why you shouldn’t attempt to handle this on your own if you’re called out by your probation officer. A knowledgeable and skilled Orange County probation violation defense attorney might be able to convince the judge that there wasn’t a probation violation, or that it was merely a minor infraction.
What Could Happen If You Violate Probation?
The first thing that will happen if you violate probation is the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are on felony probation, your probation officer may arrest you when you are believed to be in violation of probation. Once you are in front of the judge and they make the decision that a probation violation occurred, the judge will issue a punishment. The court has wide discretion in determining the terms of your probation in accordance with California PC 1203.1 probation guidelines. A judge can issue any term or condition of your probation as long as it bears a rational relationship to the offense for which you were convicted. Additional punishment for a probation violation can include any of the following:
- Revoke your probation and impose the original jail sentence: If when originally sentenced, the judge didn’t impose jail time in lieu of community service, for example, but you failed to do the community service, then the judge could reinstate the jail sentence;
- Impose a longer jail term than the original sentence;
- Extend your probation: The judge could extend the probation period with additional terms and requirements.
- Add additional terms and requirements to the existing probation term, such as adding addiction treatment on top of community service, or some form of counseling.
In many instances, merely having a lawyer by your side and arguing on your behalf may put you in a better position in which the judge may be convinced to not impose harsh punishment for the violation.
How Does The New Probation Law AB 1950 Apply?
In September 2020, California enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 1950, which shortened the length of probation in both misdemeanor and felony cases. Under this law, probation is capped at one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies. However, there are several exceptions to the law, including crimes that include a specific probation length within its provisions. And this includes being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DUI.
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