If you are convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol, DUI probation is just one of the sentencing options available to the courts. While receiving this sentence may seem like a lucky break, it’s not. In reality, it can mean that your life is not your own for up to five years, as well as restrictions on the personal freedoms that you currently take for granted. Understanding the limitations of DUI probation can serve as a positive deterrent to driving while under the influence.
Currently, all fifty states define driving under influence (DUI) as having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. In some states conviction for driving while under the influence is treated as a misdemeanor. This means the actual jail term imposed is generally less than one year. If you are convicted of a DUI and receive a probationary sentence however, you will serve no jail time, but must abide by the terms of your probation.
Probationary terms vary from state to state. California carries one of the stiffest penalties for a DUI. You can be placed on probation for up to five years if you are charged with a more serious crime. If you are arrested for a subsequent DUI, your probation will be revoked and your new sentence may include a heavy fine and jail time.
During your probation, you may be assigned a probation officer and be required to keep regularly appointed meetings. Your sentencing may include educational classes geared to help you recognize the seriousness of your actions and motivate you to stop abusing alcohol and drugs while driving. Depending upon the level of your blood alcohol, you may be ordered to enter drug and alcohol rehabilitation to fulfill the terms of your probation. In addition to your sentencing, The Department of Motor Vehicles can revoke your driver’s license and/or issue you a provisional license for occupational purposes only.
Being convicted of a DUI can negatively impact you professionally and personally. Even if you are fortunate enough to be sentenced to probation only, your driving record now shows that you have failed to act responsibly. While on probation, you may suffer financial hardship due to fines imposed. Your personal freedoms will be restricted by your inability to drive to and from the normal activities that are a part of your family and personal life. Once your criminal record shows that you have been sentenced to probation for a DUI, any future criminal activity can bring harsher sentences including time in prison.
When you stop to think about, DUI probation isn’t lucky at all. It’s the beginning of what can often end up badly for you and your loved ones. For more information about the DUI laws in your state visit 1.800.DUI.LAWS.