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.

In these cases, an experienced DUI defense attorney will present a compelling narrative to the judge, arguing that the court should not make a finding of a probation violation or subject the defendant to harsh punishment but rather consider ordering the defendant to a treatment program. If the defendant has already taken this initiative, which his or her DUI attorney will probably recommend, there will be a good chance that the judge will agree to sentence the defendant to a term of probation that requires an intensive alcohol rehabilitation program.

I have appeared before almost every judge in the Orange County Superior Court and I am familiar with what the different judges typically agree to in terms of types of rehabilitation programs, length of time, and so on. Some judges are very sympathetic, some are stern; but almost all judges will agree to order the repeat DUI offender who violatied probation to meaningful rehabilitationrather than sentence the defendant to jail or order added punitive conditions.

Getting arrested for a 2nd DUI while on probation for a 1st is a serious matter. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to defend the case can result in a far better outcome than going it alone or hiring an attorney without DUI defense experience.

Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg has been defending drivers charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugsfor 25 years. He is available to speak with you free of charge to discuss your options. You can reach him at his Irving office at 949-474-8008 or by emailing him at