Typically, a first-time DUI will result in a 3-year informal probation (also called summary probation) term. The probation, while informal (meaning you do not have to report to a probation officer), requires that the probationer comply with the probation terms or face a revocation of the probation. In a first-time DUI, the terms will almost always include attending DUI classes and perhaps some type of program such as AA. It might include a requirement to complete community service and the installation of an ignition interlocking device (IID)on the probationer’s vehicle. It will most certainly require that the probationer obey all laws. Furthermore, a DUI probation prohibits the probationer from driving with anyalcohol in his or her system—in other words, the DUI probationer is subject to a zero-tolerance rule. Violating any one of the probation terms is a violation of probation and technically, that means the judge can revoke the grant of probation and order the defendant to serve a term of incarceration in county jail.
In actuality, a judge rarely sends a DUI probationer to jail for violating probation, but the consequences of the violation can nonetheless be very unpleasant. This is particularly so if the violation is due to a 2nd DUI while on probation for the first. Not only will the defendant face the statutorily required punishment for his or her repeat DUI (which is harsher than the punishment for a first-time DUI), but the judge may order additional penalties on the 2nd violation. On the other hand, with the help of a good DUI defense attorney, the judge might choose to disregard the violation.
Obviously, it is a bad idea to drink even a little bit and then drive when on DUI probation. Quite often, a second DUI—especially when it happens while on DUI probation—is a red flag indicating that the driver has an alcohol addiction. While most judges aren’t going to give the defendant a pass because he or she has an alcohol abuse problem, many judges do recognize that more punishment probably won’t resolve the problem.