Many DUI offenders are granted probation, which allows defendants to avoid incarceration. California imposes certain conditions whenever a defendant is sentenced to DUI probation. Some of these restrictions are dependent on whether it is a first, second, or third DUI offense, or subsequent “wet reckless” conviction. Other conditions of probation are imposed on defendants regardless of how many times they have been convicted of a DUI offense.
Drivers in California who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be charged under California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) VC (driving while under the influence of alcohol), violating California Vehicle Code § 23152(b) VC (driving with a BAC of .08 or higher), and California Vehicle Code § 23152(f) VC (driving under the influence of drugs).
Motorists who are convicted of a DUI offense in California may receive probation, fines, and punishment of up to one year in county jail. In addition to the penalties, when a California motorist is sentenced for DUI that includes probation, the following conditions are always included:
- The defendant must refrain from driving with any measurable amount of blood alcohol content (BAC). (Zero Tolerance).
- The defendant must agree to submit to a chemical test of blood, breath, or, in rare cases urine if arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
- The defendant may not commit any additional crimes while on probation. This does not include traffic offenses which are not “criminal” offenses. However, it does include driving without a license or driving without valid insurance.
- The defendant receives three to five years of summary or informal probation where the defendant is not supervised by an officer of the probation department.
California courts are empowered to impose the following conditions of probation based on the circumstances of the offense:
- The defendant must attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings,
- The defendant must participate in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Program, and/or
- The defendant must make restitution to any victims for property damage.
Of course, any defendant who violates the conditions of their probations will likely suffer certain consequences under California law. This may include the revocation of probation and imposition of a jail sentence.
A California court may also order a defendant to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as an additional condition of probation for the commission of a DUI offense when:
- It is the defendant’s second or subsequent DUI.
- The defendant has a certain high blood alcohol content (BAC 0.15% or greater),
- The defendant refused to submit to a chemical blood or breath test, and/or
- The defendant wants to continue driving during the license suspension period.
There are many other alternative conditions of probation, commonly referred to as “alternative sentencing” options, that may be imposed instead of jail or prison. Some of these alternative sentencing options include the following:
- Community service;
- Alcohol education classes (some, such as AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], may be intended to help with a perceived addiction while some, such as the MADD Victim Impact Program, may be intended as a deterrent)
- House arrest with electronic monitoring using a SCRAM ankle bracelet (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor);
- Cal-Trans roadside work;
- Restitution to any victim who suffered injury or damages related to the offense;
John Patrick Dolan has represented California motorists charged with DUI for over 40 years. He is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of DUI cases. Call the Dolan Law Offices today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.