DUI Probation | Probation in Washington State DUI Cases
In Washington State, people convicted of DUI receive probation as part of their sentence. It is my understanding that many people do not know what their probation consists of.
The Basics of DUI Probation
Probation period is a specified period of time during which a person must satisfy specific requirements. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised. During supervised probation the person on probation must periodically meet with his or her probation officer. The duration, frequency, and other conditions of the supervised probation depend on the circumstances surrounding the conviction.
Majority of DUI convictions result in unsupervised probation. Unsupervised probation is less formal. A person on unsupervised probation does not have to report to a probation officer. The person on probation just completes the conditions of their probation and submits any proof of completion either to the court or to the probation office.
DUI Probation Period
In Washington State, the maximum period of probation is 60 months. As a DUI lawyer in Washington State, the typical probation period is between 24 months and 60 months. The actual length of probation will depend on the jurisdiction, number of prior DUI convictions, criminal history, and numerous other facts of the case.
During the probation period, the person must comply with the conditions of probation.
Conditions of DUI Probation
The condition that is always present is “no criminal law violations.” This means “stay out of trouble” – any kind of trouble. Any criminal law violation will trigger a violation of this condition. Common examples include driving with a suspended license. This does not include regular traffic tickets such as speeding or running a red light. However, criminal traffic infractions such as reckless driving or boating under the influence will violate this condition.
Second, the court will always require you to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with the recommended treatment. There are several levels of alcohol treatment. The lower treatment is an 8-hour drug and alcohol awareness class. The highest level is an in-patient treatment. Most first-time DUI offenders are recommended an 8-hour class.
For drug and alcohol agencies in King County please click here. Feel free to call us for a list of drug and alcohol evaluation agencies in Snohomish or Pierce Counties.
The court will also require a person to attend a Drunk Driving Victim Panel. It is about a 4-hour session where you listen to a panel share stories about how drunk driving has affected them.
The court will provide you with a deadline to pay for alcohol related fees and fines. The court will suspend your license; this suspension is independent of any license suspension you may have already received from the DOL. However, if the DOL had already suspended your license for the same offense, the DOL will give you day-for-day credit.
On the same token, the court will prohibit you from driving without a valid license and insurance and driving with any alcohol or illegal drugs in your system.
Sometimes, in cases involving aggravating facts, the court will order a person to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation.
Consequences of DUI Probation Violation
If the person violates the terms of DUI probation, they will be charged with probation violation. The standard of review in probation violation cases is very low. This means that it is easy for the court to find you to have violated your DUI probation.
If the court finds you in violation of probation, the court has the authority to sentence you to the maximum punishment for DUI. Although courts rarely sentence a person to the maximum sentence, you should expect some punishment for probation violation.
Greg Sarkisyan is an attorney at Community Law Firm, PLLC, and the author of this post. If you would like to read more, visit us here. If you need legal assistance call (206) 771-4343 or e-mail Help@CommunityLawPLLC.com.