Consequences of a DUI Probation Violation in California


First- and second-time DUI charges that don’t involve an accident, injury, or death almost always end in a sentence of probation, or what is more correctly termed, a grant of probation in lieu of a jail sentence. What happens if you violate the terms of your DUI probation?

First let’s discuss how you might find yourself in violation of probation. Probation on a DUI offense almost always requires that you pay certain fines and fees, that you attend DUI classes, and often that you attend other alcohol-related programs such as a MADD program, attendance at AA meetings. You might be required to complete community service work also. Assuming you are granted a restricted license after the mandatory suspension of your license, a condition of DUI probation will prohibit driving at any time with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system (“zero tolerance”). You may be required as a condition of probation to install an Ignition Interlock Device. The violation of any laws (misdemeanor or felony) while on probation is a violation of your DUI probation; that would include such things as driving without a valid license or without valid auto insurance but not minor traffic infractions.

Failing to fulfill any one of the conditions of your term of probation will be considered a violation. That means that even if your transgression is as minor as failing to show up for the court-ordered community service, the judge could find you in violation and you might find yourself the subject of a bench warrant.

Often you can rectify a violation by appearing in court with a good explanation and a promise to do what you failed to do. It is not always so easy though. If the violation is serious, or sometimes even if it is not so serious, the court might decide that you need to spend some time in jail; it is entirely up to the court.

And then the DMV has rules of its own. If you have a restricted license and fail to complete your DUI classes, the DMV will revoke your restricted license. In most cases, you will not be able to get your restricted license reinstated until you complete the classes. For a second-time DUI, it can take quite awhile before you can drive again as the DUI program for a second-time offender lasts for 18 months.

Another consequence of violating your DUI probation is one that is rarely anticipated. California offers those who have been convicted of misdemeanors in the state to expunge (dismiss) the conviction. Once a person has successfully completed his or her term of probation, the court must expunge the misdemeanor conviction if the person petitions the court to do so. Note that I said “successfully completes.” A probation term that has a violation of the terms is not a successful completion of probation and the court is no longer mandated to expunge the conviction. While a person who violates his or her probation can still petition the court to expunge the conviction after the term of probation is served, it will be discretionary to the court and requires a more involved process.

William Weinberg is an experienced DUI defense attorney. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you would be wise to consult right away with an attorney experienced in these matters. Please feel free to contact Mr. Weinberg to set up a confidential consultation without charge at or 949-447-8008.



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