Probation is usually preferable to going to jail for a DUI, but it can come with strict terms and conditions. Getting a DUI while you’re already on probation for another offense can land you in a tough legal situation. You could face additional penalties, including the threat of having your probation revoked.
Know what to expect if you get into trouble for drinking and driving while on probation. If you were charged with a DUI while on probation in Pennsylvania, you need the help of an experienced DUI lawyer at Skinner Law Firm. Call (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free initial consultation.
If you end up with a DUI charge while already on probation, you violate your current probation plan. Your probation officer can arrest you at any time. You’ll appear in court for a probation hearing if you’re arrested.
In this hearing, a judge could modify your probation, make the terms stricter, or revoke it altogether. Every case is different, but the probation violation court process usually involves the following steps:
After your arrest, your probation officer will file a statement of violations with the court. This statement will outline how you violated the terms of your probation and the recommended penalties. A new criminal offense during probation is serious, so the recommended consequences may also be severe.
You can review and respond to the violation statement with the help of an attorney. Your lawyer can challenge the claims against you, fight the DUI charge, and argue for leniency in your probation.
You will attend two hearings if you’ve allegedly violated probation. The first is called a Gagnon 1 Hearing, where the judge will decide whether you will remain in prison until the next hearing. This hearing will be held within 10 days after the alleged probation violation. An attorney can represent you at your preliminary hearing and argue for your probation to be extended or modified rather than revoked.
The Gagnon 2 hearing typically occurs no more than eight weeks after the Gagnon 1 hearing. The second hearing determines whether sufficient evidence exists to justify revoking your probation. The burden of proof is much lower than it is for a criminal trial. If the judge decides to revoke your probation, your attorney can file an appeal within 30 days. If the appeal is successful, you could get a new hearing, or your probation reinstated.
There are two types of probation violations: technical and substantive. Technical violations are for not complying with the terms of your probation and include failing a drug test or not reporting to your probation officer. A substantive violation occurs if you get in trouble for another crime, such as a DUI, while on probation.
Any violation can jeopardize your probation and bring potential severe consequences, including:
Don’t expect much sympathy from prosecutors if you violate the terms of your probation, especially if you’re charged with a new crime such as a DUI. Probation is a privilege that allows you avoid jail and remain in your community; when you violate the terms of your probation, a judge may see you as someone likely to return to the criminal justice system again. In many cases, the prosecutor will push to revoke your probation after a DUI.
If your probation is revoked, you can be sent to jail to serve the rest of your original sentence plus additional penalties if you’re also convicted of a DUI. However, your attorney can fight this possibility by arguing for you if you’re denied bond and negotiating with the prosecutor.
As with any conviction, the courts will consider several factors before sentencing you for a DUI during probation. Factors might include the following:
If you were already on probation for a DUI, you could expect a more severe punishment for a subsequent offense. The prosecution may argue that you abused the privilege of probation and push for it to be revoked.
If you were on probation for an unrelated offense and you’re charged with your first DUI, your sentence could fall under the first DUI offense guidelines.
DUI penalties increase substantially with each subsequent offense. In addition, having a high BAC can bring even more severe penalties. The judge will consider your criminal record and BAC at the time of your arrest when determining sentencing for your DUI on probation. Consequences could include months or years in jail, hefty fines, and a permanent mark on your record.
If you’re charged with a DUI while on probation, you’ll need to fight the new charge and to keep the privilege of probation. You shouldn’t take on this challenge alone with so much at stake. A DUI lawyer’s help can make the difference between staying on probation or being sent to jail.
Your attorney can argue to reduce or dismiss the DUI while also advocating to keep your probation as is. A lawyer knows Pennsylvania DUI law and probation procedures and can help you fully understand the charges against you and the potential consequences. Then, they can come up with the right defense strategy, challenge the evidence against you, and negotiate to have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Getting charged with a DUI while on probation presents a double threat to your freedom. The right attorney can present a strong defense, fight to keep the charge from impacting your probation status, and ultimately protect your future.
Skinner Law Firm has successfully fought many DUI charges in Pennsylvania and represented defendants at probation violation hearings. We’ll put our years of experience and extensive legal knowledge to work for you if you’re charged with a DUI on probation.