If you were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, and you do not have a history of DUI convictions, there is a good chance you were sentenced to a period of time on probation. At the time of your conviction, you were undoubtedly thrilled to be avoiding a lengthy prison sentence and gladly accepted the probation sentence. Like many people, it was likely at some point after that time that you realized how restrictive probation can be. Nonetheless, it is better than sitting in a jail cell. If you are facing a probation violation though, you are back to living with the threat of returning to jail. Moreover, you may not know who to call or what to do about your upcoming violation hearing. Do DUI attorneys also handle probation violations? Although each attorney decides what type of cases he/she handles, many DUI attorneys do handle probation violations for DUI clients.
Understanding Your Probation Sentence
Your DUI conviction was either the result of a guilty plea agreement entered into between you and the State of Nebraska or the result of a guilty verdict at trial. Either way, you may not have been paying as much attention as you should have at your sentencing hearing. Like many defendants, your primary focus and concern was likely that you not return to jail. Hearing that you would be sentenced to serve time on probation, in lieu of jail, was as you needed to here. Anything else you may have tuned out. What you may not have understood clearly, is that you likely were sentenced to a period of incarceration; however, the judge suspended that jail time and allowed you to serve that time in the community instead of jail. This distinction is important though, as you could be ordered to serve your previously suspended jail sentence if the judge agrees that you violated the terms of your probation.
Common Probation Violations
Everyone who is sentenced to serve a period of time on probation is ordered to abide by the standard terms of probation which include things such as:
- Reporting to your probation officer
- Maintaining employment or enrollment in school
- Not getting arrested for a new criminal offense
You may also have been ordered to abide by special terms of probation. These are terms that relate to your crime and/or you specifically and might include things such as:
- Paying restitution to a victim
- Completing a substance abuse evaluation and treatment if deemed necessary
- Abiding by a no contact order
Any of these standard or special terms of probation could be the basis for a violation if your probation officer has reason to believe you failed to abide by the term.
What to Expect at the Probation Violation Hearing
A probation violation hearing is similar to a trial but less formal. The prosecuting attorney will present evidence of your alleged violation to the court. You also have the right to put on a defense if you choose. This is where DUI attorneys may be able to help. Putting on a defense is crucial if the alleged violation is serious because if the court agrees that you violated your probation, the judge can do one of three things:
- Return you to probation with just a warning. Most likely if the violation is minor and you have no previous history of violations.
- Modify the term of your probation. The judge has the authority to modify the terms of your probation. This might include adding on additional time to your probation term, requiring you to attend additional classes or implementing random drug screens.
- Revoke your probation. If the judge believes your violation is serious enough, or you have violated often enough, the judge might just revoke your probation altogether. If that happens, the judge will likely send you back to jail/prison to serve all, or a portion of, your suspended sentence.
Contact Nebraska DUI Attorneys
If you are facing a potential probation violation for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in the State of Nebraska, contact the DUI attorneys at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.