DUI probation is a 3 to 5 year period after your conviction where you are subject to special rules and must complete certain obligations.
Probation is part of almost every criminal sentence in California. There are two kinds of probation:
- Formal or “supervised” probation, where you must check in regularly with a probation officer
- Summary or “unsupervised” probation, where you do not have a probation officer but you must follow certain rules
DUI convictions usually come with a three to five year period of summary probation. It is very rare in California to receive supervised probation for a DUI. Probation comes with both rules you must follow and special obligations you must fulfill.
Rules of DUI Probation
Rules during DUI probation include:
- You cannot commit any crime. If you do, you will face penalties for probation violation on top of the criminal penalties.
- You cannot drive with any amount of alcohol in your system. That means that even if your tested blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the normal legal limit of .08% you could still get a new DUI. The general cutoff for drivers on DUI probation is .04%, but it can be less.
- You cannot refuse a chemical test if suspected of or arrested for DUI. If an officer asks you to take a roadside PAS test you must take it, and if arrested you must submit to a blood, breath or urine test.
These are just the basic rules. The judge may impose additional probation guidelines as well. In some cases you may be ordered not to drink any alcohol (or take any drugs) during the entire probation period.
Other DUI Probation Requirements in California
During your probation you face additional requirements as well. Unlike the rules above, which are just things you “can’t” do, the other requirements are things you must do. If you do not fulfill them you are violating your probation.
At a minimum, you must:
- Pay your fines and court fees related to your DUI or set up a payment plan to get them paid
- Enroll in and complete DUI traffic school
- Complete your jail time, if any. But jail time is sometimes waived on the condition that you complete your probation.
The sentence may order additional requirements as well. The most common requirements are:
- Completing a certain number of hours of addiction treatment
- Installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicles, so you cannot start them without passing a breath test
- Community service
- Attending a “deterrent program” that tries to scare you into driving sober in the future.
If you follow the rules, fulfill your obligations and wait out the three to five year period, your probation is complete. If you break any of the probation conditions you could be brought back into court and face additional penalties, as well as serving any jail time that was waived earlier.
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