Depending on if this is your first offense or not, violating your DUI probation can result in fines, jail, community service, or tracking devices. These choices are open to the probation officer and the judge. They can result in an acceptable settlement of the probation violation if you are in Colorado on probation for:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)
- Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)
Probation violations are divided into two categories: technical and substantive violations. Technical violations don’t involve new charges, while substantive offenses result in misdemeanor or felony charges after you are placed on probation.
What Actions Count as a Probation Violation?
The terms of a DUI probation range from simple to complex. The importance lies in your ability to understand your requirements. Failure to comply with the conditions set down by the court following your DUI arrest is a probation violation. This could entail:
- Forgetting to check in with the probation officer assigned from Colorado’s probation department
- Not paying your fines
- Testing positive for illegal drugs and/or alcohol
- Committing a new felony
- Missing probation appointments or court dates
- Unable to secure employment
- Not completing community service
- Associating with criminals
- Crossing state boundaries
An essential component of a person’s sentencing is adhering to the conditions of probation and supervised release. You are advised to strictly abide by the terms of your probation and supervised release. The most important factor in success while on probation and supervised release is keeping open lines of communication with a probation officer.
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What Happens if I Violate My DUI Probation in Colorado?
When you violate DUI probation or are charged with (or found guilty of) a new crime while on probation, judges can impose additional probation requirements or revoke probation. You may additionally experience the following penalties:
- Prolonged probation
- Larger fines
- Additional management, therapy, or treatment
- Longer driver’s license suspension
- Jail time
In addition to assisting you in reducing the charges, a trained and experienced DUI attorney can also help you adhere to the terms of your probation, which lowers the risk of further penalties.
How to Handle Traffic Stops and Arrests While on Probation
Since traffic citations are considered a breach of your probation, It is advised that if you receive one, you inform your probation officer of the specifics.
The law mandates that “the defendant shall tell the probation officer within 72 hours of being arrested or questioned by a law enforcement officer.” Any engagement with law enforcement that is more serious should involve legal representation.
Are There Exceptions to the Terms of My DUI Probation?
No. You must show documentation of your enrollment and completion of all sessions, classes, community service, and MADD Panel requirements. There are no exceptions. You need to show evidence that you did not violate the DUI probation the judge imposed to prevent penalties.
There is no way to over-stress how crucial it is to comprehend the specific instructions of your Colorado probation requirements. If you need help understanding the terms of your probation, you can consult with a DUI attorney.
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What if I Accidentally Miss a Probationary Requirement?
It depends. Your probation officer can issue you a warning or file a motion to cancel your probation. If you violate DUI probation requirements in a major way, it is almost guaranteed that a judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
The bench warrant gives law enforcement the right to find, apprehend, and bring you before the judge who issued it.
The judge will allow you to demonstrate that you have not broken the terms and conditions of probation during a brief hearing after you appear before the court. You will receive a probation violation penalty from the judge if you lose that hearing, but you have the right to retain a probation lawyer who may negotiate a deal with the district attorney’s office.
What Options do I Have if I Violate My Probation?
When you violate your probation, you have the following basic choices in court:
- Enter into a plea agreement where you accept some or all of the charges against you for probation breach, leaving the Judge to determine the sentence, also known as “open sentencing.”
- Agree to a certain penalty with the prosecutor and accept some or all offenses, subject to the judge’s permission.
- Take legal action without entering a plea to address any or all of the alleged probation violations.
If you choose to reach a stipulation with the district attorney for certain offenses, you have more control over the outcome, such as completing community service or anger management along with your probation. If the case is litigated in a hearing, the judge will decide if you are guilty of violating parole and make a determination of what your consequence will be.
Is Having a DUI Attorney Necessary?
All of the initial punishments are reinstated if your DUI probation is broken. Your lawyer can examine the circumstances and determine what choices are still available. Although the judge might not be inclined to show mercy, your lawyer can provide proof that you are still a reliable person.
If you cannot afford a DUI probation lawyer, there is nothing wrong with employing a public defender’s services, but remember that they typically handle more cases and lack the resources that a law firm has.
Do Probationers Have Rights Like Non-Offenders?
You still have constitutional rights, but the terms of your probation agreement restrict some. If you are facing a probation hearing, the minimum due process consists of:
- Written notification of the alleged probation violations so that you are aware of the evidence against you
- A chance to present witnesses and written evidence, as well as an in-person hearing
- The ability to confront and cross-examine unfavorable witnesses unless the hearing officer finds a special reason to prevent this
- A hearing body that is “neutral and detached,” such as a regular parole board, whose members do not have to be judges or attorneys
- A written statement from the fact-finders outlining the arguments they made and the justifications for revoking probation
When accused of a probation violation in Colorado, having a DUI defense attorney is critical to help you understand your legal options. This is the most effective strategy to avoid penalties for violating DUI probation and successfully fulfill your sentence. Contact Christian A. Schwaner for a free DUI defense consultation.