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Getting a DUI While on Probation for DUI in DC

If you are on probation, any new arrest would violate probation. In other words, for every probationary term, the basic primary requirement is: Do not violate any law. Any new arrest can be a violation of probation, whether it is for DUI or anything else.

Call and schedule a consultation with a Washington, DC DUI lawyer today if you have any further questions or concerns with respect to getting a DUI while on probation for a DUI.

Impact of Previous Offenses on Your Current Case

The likelihood that you could be facing probation revocation does not necessarily depend on what your prior offense was. But if you are arrested for a DUI while you are on probation for another DUI, the court may continue to hold you. Their justification is that they deem you to be a danger to the community because you have now allegedly engaged in potentially reckless behavior that would endanger others again while you are still dealing with the consequences from the first offense.

Being on probation for a prior DUI when you are charged with a new DUI will likely mean that the prosecutors will come at you very strongly. They will likely seek a much stiffer sentence in these cases because, from their view, the defendant has not learned his or her lesson.

Repeat DUI Offenses in DC

In DC, there is mandatory incarceration for repeat DUI offenders. If you are on probation for a DUI conviction and then you are charged with another DUI, you can expect the prosecutor to file a notice of enhancement that triggers a mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 days.

Depending upon how many prior DUIs you have and some other factors about the new case, there will be a minimum mandatory 10 days of jail time if you are convicted in the new case. Another consideration is how a judge will view your situation given that you are now facing another DUI while already on probation for a DUI. Basically, you can expect the prosecution and the court to be much harsher in their treatment of you.

Possibility of Getting Probation for Violating Probation in DC

In some senses, it is possible to get probation for violating probation. The way it works is if someone is on probation, the judge will have given an initial sentence of, say, 30 days of jail, but then suspends that sentence and instead puts him or her on probation.

Alternatively, the judge may actually order the defendant to serve a small term of incarceration—perhaps 15 days of jail. Then when the person gets out, he or she will be on probation in lieu of a longer period of incarceration. These scenarios are common in first-offense DUI cases. If you are on probation and then you violate probation, the judge might decide to revoke your probation. If that happens, you can expect to receive the 30 days that the court had initially ordered but suspended.

In certain circumstances, an individual who is already on probation and gets arrested for a new offense may have his or her probation revoked and be resentenced. In other words, he or she may be sentenced to a small term of incarceration and put back on probation in the old case, and then receive a probation sentence in the new case, too. Some might call that double probation in the sense that someone receives a probationary sentence in one case and then again another case.

However, the court typically does not stack the probation; instead, it will run concurrent, meaning you will still have just one probation officer and the probation will last for one set length of time. Therefore, in reality, it is not exactly double probation, but you can serve probation sentences for two different cases at the same time.

Revocation of Initial Probation

If you are on probation, any new arrest and charges are very serious because just being arrested and charged could be enough to trigger a revocation of your initial probation and end up sending you to jail or prison. Certainly, if you are convicted in the new DUI case, you can expect to have some form of punishment for violating probation in the initial case. It could be very serious because a DUI in DC is always a misdemeanor by definition. Repeat offenses trigger mandatory jail time and are always seen by prosecutors as a very serious matter.

It could be even more serious if someone is on probation for a felony. In that situation, violating probation by being arrested, charged and perhaps convicted for a misdemeanor can result in having the probation revoked for the felony and being sentenced to prison for years—it all depends upon the first case for which someone was sentenced to probation.

Essentially, any new arrest is very serious if someone’s already on probation because he or she could be facing not only the penalties for the new case, but serious penalties for the underlying charge as well.

DUI Acquittal and Probation

If someone is on probation in DC and then is arrested and charged with a DUI, that can trigger probation revocation. The judge will evaluate whether the person was arrested on probable cause, meaning whether an officer made the arrest with enough evidence to show that the defendant likely committed the offense. This does not mean proof beyond a reasonable doubt like a trial requires, but simply has to do with whether there was initial evidence that the person likely committed the offense. If so, that alone can be enough to trigger a revocation of probation. In that sense, being arrested and charged with a DUI can certainly trigger a probation revocation on a first offense.

However, the courts in DC often wait to see the outcome of the new charges, and if the person is acquitted or if the charges are later dismissed by the government or court, then the court may just place the person back on probation in the first case. That is commonly done if the person does not have an extensive criminal record and was on probation for a misdemeanor. If the charges are ultimately dismissed or if an acquittal comes after trial, then there is a good chance the judge will allow the person to remain on probation as opposed to having it revoked.

Will You Go Back on Probation?

Under DC law, an arrest on probable cause can be a basis to violate someone’s probation. However, it is possible for the person’s lawyer to request that the judge not violate their client’s probation because of the arrest. The lawyer can ask the judge to wait for the outcome of the person’s DUI case before deciding how that case affects their probation.

At that point if a person is acquitted or has their DUI case dismissed, their lawyer can argue to the judge to place the person back on probation with their same original conditions. The judge could consider whether the person violated any other conditions of their probation, such as drug tests, completing community service, or paying court costs.

Even if the person beats their DUI case, the judge could consider any other violations of probation conditions to decide whether to revoke the person’s probation. If the person is otherwise in compliance with their probation and beats their DUI case, their lawyer can argue to the judge to place the person back on probation without any additional jail time.