If you were convicted for driving under the influence, or DUI, in the State of Nebraska, you were likely given probation as part of your sentence. Hopefully, someone explained to you the importance of abiding by the terms of your probation. If you now find yourself facing a allegation that you violated those probation terms, you may be wondering whether a DUI lawyer can help. The simple answer is that it is certainly in your best interest to hire a DUI lawyer to represent you for your violation as you are likely facing some serious repercussions if you are found to be in violation by the court.
How Does Probation Work?
Far too many people end up back in jail or prison because they did not understand how probation actually works. Probation can be ordered in lieu of, or in addition to, a period of incarceration as part of a sentence when someone is convicted of a criminal offense. Where people often get confused is that they only hear “probation” and fail to realize that they were actually sentenced to a term of imprisonment that was suspended. For example, if you were convicted of DUI, the judge might have sentenced you to a year in jail but then suspended that year and allowed you to serve a year on probation instead. That period of imprisonment that you were actually sentenced to, however, remains hanging over your head in the event you violate your probation.
Standard and Special Conditions of Probation
While on probation you must abide by all standard and special conditions of probation. Standard conditions of probation are conditions that apply to everyone on probation and typically include things such as:
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Maintaining employment or enrollment in school
- Paying fines, costs, and fees
- Not committing any new crimes
In addition to the standard conditions, you may also be sentenced to special conditions of probation which are conditions that relate specifically to your crime or your situation. These conditions might include:
- Attending substance abuse classes or treatment
- Suspending your driver’s license and/or installing an ignition interlock device
- Paying restitution if you caused an accident
- Submitting to random alcohol and drug tests
Types of Probation Violations
While on probation, a notice of violation could be filed against you alleging that you did something to violate your probation. Probation violations are typically divided into two categories:
- Technical – a technical violation means you failed to abide by one of the rules. It could be as simple as you failed to pay your fines and costs or you missed a scheduled appointment or it could be something more serious, such as you failed several drug tests or you never installed your ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
- New arrest – when on probation, just getting arrested for a crime can be grounds for a violation, even if you have not been convicted of the new crime. Being arrested for another DUI is a particularly bad violation for someone on probation for DUI.
What Happens If You Are Found to Be in Violation by the Judge?
After the notice of violation is filed, the judge will set the matter for a hearing. Although probation hearings are less formal than a trial, you are entitled to be represented by an attorney — a right that you should exercise given the possible outcomes if you are found to be in violation, which include:
- Continue with no change – if the violation is minor and/or if an explanation for the violation is offered, the judge may simply admonish you to not violate again and continue your probation without change.
- Modify your probation – the judge could modify the terms of your probation. If you failed to complete your alcohol and drug evaluation, the judge could order you to complete an entire outpatient alcohol abuse program.
- Revoke your probation – your probation could be revoked or terminated unsuccessfully. Typically, this means you will be ordered to serve all, or a portion of, your original suspended sentence.
If you have been notified that a probation violation has been filed, or you believe one is forthcoming, you should consult with a Nebraska DUI lawyer immediately. Contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.