In Florida, when a driver is found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time, he or she will face specific penalties, which typically include: a fine, license revocation, community service, possible jail time, DUI School, and probation. For the purposes of this post, I want to dig deeper into probation – what it is and what it involves.
Probation is a type of sentence that’s imposed on defendants; it’s viewed as a favorable alternative to incarceration for reasons we can understand. When a DUI defendant is given probation, he or she is supervised in the community instead of languishing in jail.
DUI defendants can continue working and supporting themselves and their families. It’s a win-win for the defendants and courts alike because probation places less of a burden on taxpayers and the overcrowded court calendars.
What Does DUI Probation Involve?
Suppose you are facing first-time DUI charges in Miami. If you’re found guilty, you would more than likely get probation. Under Sec. 316.193(5) of the Florida Statutes, your total period of probation and incarceration cannot exceed one year – that’s a plus because probation can last much longer in other states – years longer. That being said, let’s take a look at the general conditions of DUI probation in Florida:
- Do not leave a specified area; for example, don’t leave Florida without obtaining your probation officer’s approval first.
- Financially support your dependents (e.g. your children).
- Maintain suitable employment.
- Pay all court-ordered fines.
- Pay victim restitution if ordered by the court.
- Do not break any new laws (state or federal).
- Do not drink alcohol to excess.
- Do not take illegal drugs.
- Attend DUI School.
- Report to your probation officer as instructed.
- Submit to random drug and alcohol tests.
- Submit to an alcohol evaluation (if required).
- And more.
Probation is an excellent alternative to incarceration but it comes with a strict set of conditions. If a probationer violates any term of their probation and their PO finds out about it, the probationer can be arrested and brought before the judge. Depending on the nature of the offense, the judge can decide to modify or revoke the probation. If the probation is revoked, the probationer can be incarcerated and required to complete their original jail sentence.
DUI probation violations often include: failing an alcohol or drug test, driving on a suspended or revoked license, failing to pay the court-ordered fines, being re-arrested for DUI, being arrested for another crime, and leaving the state without the PO’s permission.
I hope that clears up a few things for you on the subject of DUI probation. If you’re facing first-time DUI charges, you’ll want to learn about DUI diversion through the Back on Track Program, which can greatly improve the outcome of a DUI case. To learn more, contact my firm to schedule a free case evaluation. To get acquainted with me, I invite you to check out my Attorney Profile.