When people are convicted of driving under the influence (first offense) in Tampa or anywhere else in Florida, they cannot receive more than one year of probation and incarceration (combined) under Section 316.193(5) of the Florida Statutes. Unlike other states, such as California where DUI probation can last three or more years, Florida’s DUI probation is relatively short in comparison.
If you’re facing first-time DUI charges and you’re found guilty, you can expect to be placed on DUI probation. What is probation exactly? It’s a type of sentence that can be imposed for a criminal offense, including DUI. While you’re on DUI probation, you’re supervised in the community but under the close supervision of the court.
Common conditions of DUI probation include:
- Pay all court-ordered fines for your DUI
- Do not violate any new laws (state or federal)
- Ensure you hold down a respectable job
- Do not consume an excess amount of alcohol
- Support your dependents to the best of your ability
- Remain within a specific area as directed by the court
- Report to your probation officer as specified
- Pay restitution to any victims (if ordered by the court)
- Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
- Do not possess or take any illegal drugs
- Do not possess a prescription without a valid prescription
To learn more about the terms and conditions of probation under Sec. 948.03 of the Florida Statutes, click here.
What if I Violate My DUI Probation?
For the most part, criminal defendants prefer probation over incarceration because they’re able continue working and supporting their families. Plus, nobody really wants to be in jail; most people avoid it at all costs. Probation however, comes with a strict set of conditions and sometimes it’s easy to inadvertently or unintentionally violate a term of one’s probation.
If for example you’re on DUI probation and you climb into the back of your friend’s car with an open bottle of beer and your friend is pulled over, things can go downhill fast. The officer can shine his flashlight into the back and see that you have an open bottle of beer.
The officer runs your driver’s license info and sees that you’re on DUI probation. Before you know it, you’re charged under Sec. 316.1963 of the Florida Statutes for illegally possessing an open container of alcohol. Since you broke a law, you could be found in violation of your probation. If the judge on your case decides to, he or she can revoke your probation and throw you in jail.
Examples of DUI Probation Violations
“What are some of the most common DUI probation violations?” Typically, they involve driving on a suspended license, public intoxication, getting a new DUI while on probation, illegally possessing a controlled substance (including prescription drugs), or failing a drug or alcohol test.
Other violations include leaving the state without getting the Probation Officer’s permission, boating under the influence, failing to support one’s dependents, failing to pay the court-ordered fines, having an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) register alcohol while driving, or failing to pay restitution to the victim(s) injured in a drunk driving accident.
As you can see, it’s not hard to violate a condition of your probation. If you do make a mistake and your PO finds out about it and reports it to the judge, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. The outcome of your probation violation depends on the nature of the violation, if it’s your first offense, and which judge is on your case.
If you’re taken into custody, ideally the judge would decide that you’re not guilty and order your release. Otherwise, the judge could decide to modify or revoke your probation. If it’s revoked, it could mean you have a one-way ticket to jail. This could happen if you were re-arrested for DUI while on probation, caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, or caught possessing a controlled substance.
If you violated a term of your DUI probation, contact our Tampa DUI defense firm at once for help. As former prosecutors, we know what you’re up against and we know which defense strategies to implement in different scenarios. Call today to set up a free consultation.