After your release you still have to complete probation. Violating any of the terms of your probation could lead to more consequences and even jail time.
What happens if you get a DUI? Will a DUI violate felony probation?
That’s a good question. Let’s look at this issue.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- All About Probation
- Violation of Probation
- Factors in Probation Violation
- What About a DUI?
- Steps to Take
All About Probation
Your prison sentence is over, but you still have probation ahead of you. Probation is a trial period following your incarceration to allow you to adjust to being out of prison and beginning your re-entry to society.
While you are on probation, you remain under the supervision of a probation officer. The rules of your probation are established by the sentencing judge.
These rules usually include a regular meeting with the probation officer, community service, refraining from illegal drugs and alcohol, staying away from certain places and people, and appearing in court if requested.
The length of probation varies according to the offense and your criminal history. Typically, probation can last from one to three years, but it can last longer depending on the offense, such as drug or sex offenses.
This is decided by the judge according to the “rehabilitative needs of the criminal defendant.”
Probation has been a part of sentencing since the Federal Probation Act was passed in 1925.
The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 set guidelines so that an offender’s sentence fits the offense. This is instead of making sure that the sentence fits the offender as it was earlier.
Violation of Probation
While it doesn’t have to be difficult, it may still seem that way as there can be so many regulations for a felon to follow on probation.
Any action that goes against those guidelines is considered to be a violation of probation. If you violate probation, your probation officer will decide whether or not to just give you a warning. At other times, there may be a probation violation hearing in front of a judge. If the judge decides you violated probation, additional terms may be added to the probationary period.
The judge could set a fine or give additional consequences. For more serious issues, the judge could revoke your probation, giving you jail time or even sending you back to prison to complete your original sentence. If the decision is to revoke your probation, a judge will decide in court what will happen. The prosecuting attorney must show through a “preponderance of evidence” that you actually violated those terms.
If you are in this situation, you will want to have legal counsel present. You will also hear any new charges that may be filed with the judge either supporting your case or refuting the evidence.
Factors in Probation Violation
When you are on probation and violate the terms of the agreement, the action that led to the violation may not involve a crime. It just may be that you didn’t follow the guidelines closely enough. That is, maybe you were around someone that you were restricted from contacting. Or perhaps you went somewhere that you were not allowed to go.
You also may have consumed alcohol when your probation terms stated that you must refrain from drinking. These are the types of misconduct that would most likely result in a warning or even a fine.
Then there are the occasions in which you did break the law. These are such instances that would lead to more substantial penalties. These times would likely involve having a probation violation hearing, after which a judge would issue an order indicating what the consequences might be.
As the particular offense committed increases in seriousness, the more likely it is that there would be a significant change to the probation terms, including possible jail time or being returned to prison.
So if you want to avoid additional prison time during your probation of course it is in your best interest to avoid doing anything that could be viewed as a violation of that term.
What About a DUI?
Often, probation terms will require you to avoid certain persons and places. Many times probation will mandate that you not drink, depending on your individual circumstances.
Getting a DUI can become more severe depending on what your original crime was.
You may have even committed a felony DUI, earning you a prison sentence. So, if you have another DUI, it will be a direct violation of your probation.
A second DUI violation will be treated very differently than if it was a first violation. There will be harsher penalties for this that could more easily result in being sent back to prison.
Steps to Take
So be aware of all terms of your probation such as people and places to avoid as well as activities that would be a direct violation or which could lead you to engage in actions that would be a violation.
Of course you need to not break the law. You might think that just a drink or two wouldn’t be all that bad. However, one drink can lead to another and then another.
If you are somewhere that requires you to drive, it would be best to ask someone else to drive. Taking a chance on getting a DUI is a risk that is not what you want.
If you get a DUI, remember that it is quite likely to be a probation violation. The consequences are not going to be good. You don’t want to become part of the statistics of 2/3 of felons who return to prison within the first two years.
Give yourself a chance to succeed and get past making the kind of mistake that put you into prison in the first place. Be defined by how you recover from your mistakes and not in making them in the first place.
So what do you think about this blog post about if a DUI will violate probation? Have you or someone you know gotten a DUI while on felony probation? What was that experience like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.