What is Probation Like After an Atlanta DUI?
You may be worried about getting jail time after an Atlanta DUI. Unfortunately, that may be unavoidable if you are convicted. The good news is that for many first time DUIs, the judge will only make you spend the minimum of 24 hours behind bars, and serve out the remainder of your sentence on probation. Probation will usually last for a year, and while you won't have to sit behind bars, probation is no picnic. There are requirements you'll have to abide by to stay on good terms with your probation officer, otherwise you may end up back behind bars.
First-Time Atlanta DUI Probation
The terms of your probation may depend on your individual case, and even your individual judge. The judge usually has a lot of discretion as to what terms they will make as part of your probation. For most first-time DUI convictions, a driver will have to pay fines of almost $1,000; perform a minimum of 40 hours of community service with a qualified charity; go through DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program at your own cost; undergo a clinical evaluation at your own cost; go through a substance abuse treatment program at your own cost; and have your driver's license suspended for a year.
On top of this, the judge may add additional probation conditions related to alcohol and driving. This includes staying away from drugs or alcohol during your entire probation period. This can be tested by random drug or alcohol testing. Alcohol testing for probation may involve other tests that can determine you've had a drink up to a few days later. If you get a random drug test, don't think that you're in the clear and can go have a few drinks at the bar. Another random drug test can come again a few days later. Any positive alcohol or drug test during your probation may result in a technical violation.
Other limitations may include prohibition from going to certain places, such as bars, and even prohibition from being around certain people. During this time you may even be required to pay for your own probation supervision costs. You may even be asked to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel.
Probation can be a real pain. You'll be under the watchful eye of the state for an entire year-long period. If you mess up just once by failing to report a violation, or failing to pay a fine or fee, you could end up in jail to finish out your sentence behind bars. The best way to avoid any of these penalties is to makes sure you don't plead guilty, and you hire an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer to fight the charges against you to get them dropped or reduced.
If you are caught violating your probation, your probation officer may file a petition to have your probation revoked. This may include a warrant for your arrest. Unfortunately, it may take awhile between your arrest and the time for your probation hearing, which means you'll have to spend that time in jail. However, you may be able to negotiate a hearing before you are arrested, and your DUI lawyer may be able to arrange this so you won't have to wait it out in jail.
During a probation revocation hearing, your probation officer will lay out the allegations against you, including any evidence that you violated probation by testing positive for alcohol, failed to make a required payment, or didn't show up for a required meeting. You have the opportunity to respond, and may want to have your lawyer represent you during the revocation hearing, to make sure your rights are protected. At the end, the judge will determine what happens next.
The judge may decide that you haven't violated probation, and you may continue your current terms. However, if the judge found you did violate the terms of your probation, they have a lot of leeway as to what will happen next. You may have to go to jail, be given an extended probation, be placed under house arrest with a GPS ankle device, or forced to go through additional counseling sessions, at your own cost. If you didn't get a lawyer to fight your DUI charges, maybe a lawyer at your probation hearing will help keep you from getting thrown back into jail, just for drinking a couple of beers.
DUI Probation Lawyer
The best way to avoid a probation violation is to make sure you never get convicted in the first place. Remember that a Georgia DUI arrest does not have to lead to a conviction. And you don't have to plead guilty just because you got arrested for a one-time mistake. As Georgia DUI defense lawyers with years of experience defending clients charged with a DUIs, we understand how serious the penalties can be. We have successfully gotten thousands of clients' charges reduced or dismissed entirely. With my extensive training, experience in the courtroom, and understanding of how the police and prosecutors make their case, we will be the advocate you need to fight for your rights.