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What Happens During DUI Probation

dui-probationGetting a DUI can have negative consequences on your life for years.  DUI probation is one very common penalty faced by people convicted of driving under the influence.  The purpose behind serving probation after a DUI is to prevent, or decrease the likelihood, of repeat DUIs in the future.  Almost every state enforces some type of probation period for a DUI.  The exact probation conditions that you will have to deal with will depend on your state DUI laws. The following post is designed to give you a better idea of what happens during DUI probation.

What Happens During DUI Probation

The primary consequences you will deal with during DUI probation include the following things:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Devices to monitor your drinking
  • Substance abuse classes
  • Random drug testing
  • Monitoring of your criminal record
  • Fines
  • Higher insurance rates

Read on for more details about each of the things mentioned above so you understand what happens during DUI probation. Also, here is another helpful post to find out more specifics on the penalties of a DUI.

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Suspension of Your Driver’s License 

Depending on your state’s laws, your driver’s license could be suspended during your DUI probation.  A suspension of a license can be looked at as a medium punishment in terms of harshness.  Some states go as far as to revoke your license entirely. Other states will just put some restrictions on your driving.  Examples of the minor restrictions on your driving include only driving in certain hours or only being allowed to drive on certain streets.

If driving is a big part of your job and you had a commercial driver’s license, it could be revoked for a couple years for getting a DUI. This would mean you might be out of work for an extended time.  If this is your situation, you should consult a lawyer.  It may be possible to negotiate a reinstatement of your license so you can keep your job.

If losing your license would be particularly detrimental for you, it may be possible to request a DMV suspension hearing where you may be able to reduce the suspension.  Talk to a lawyer to see if this is an option in your case.  Even if you are unsuccessful, the worst thing that can happen is that the same suspension will remain in effect.

Devices To Monitor Your Drinking

While on probation for  DUI, some states may require you to wear a wear a device that monitors how much you are drinking. This is especially common for repeat DUI offenses. There are two types of monitoring devices commonly required during DUI probation.

The first type of device is a bracelet worn around the ankle that checks your blood alcohol content (BAC) regularly based on perspiration from your skin.  These devices can be quite bothersome, and are more common for repeat DUI offenders.

Another type of device you might have to deal with attaches to the dashboard of your car and requires you to take a breathalyzer test before turning on your car.  These are called Ignition Interlock devices, and they are meant to ensure that you are unable to drive if you’ve been drinking.

Both of these devices report back to your probation officer.  If you drink too much while on probation, there is a good chance you will be caught.  The worst thing you can do is chose to drink and drive while on probation and be caught by one of these devices.  Your state penalties for being caught will vary, but they can be extreme.

Substance Abuse Classes

Substance abuse classes are usually required while you are on DUI probation.  The type of classes you will take depend on your state laws and your probation sentence.  The normally involve lessons on alcohol and drug use and DUI prevention. You might need to attend classes for several months, or even up to a year or more.

Random Drug Testing During Probation

Random drug testing is often enforced while you are on probation for DUI. Even though you might already have devices (such as the bracelet) to monitor your drinking, you can still be subject to unscheduled testing for other substances.

The courts want to make sure you have not found a way get around the monitoring device.  You can still get a DUI for driving on other drugs, even legal prescription ones.  So most states will have your probation officer closely monitor you and make sure you comply with your probation sentence at all times.

Keep A Clean Criminal Record

In some states, you will be required to keep a clean criminal record while on probation for a DUI.  Your probation officer will be monitoring you closely if this is the case, and you cannot have any little slip-ups or you will face the repercussions. Probation is meant to get you back on track toward living a safe, healthy, crime free lifestyle.  Committing other crimes during probation is a sign that you have not learned your lesson.

For example, even if you commit other traffic violations you could be in violation of your probation.  If you face new charges while you are on probation, you will be prosecuted for the new charge, plus you will be brought into court for violating your probation, which has additional consequences.  Therefore, it’s really important to keep your criminal record clean during DUI probation.

Fines While on DUI Probation

Being on probation comes with a good amount of fines and it can be very expensive. For instance, there are likely to be fees for the monitoring devices, alcohol classes, and random sobriety testing that will be required.  Not to mention other costs, such as vehicle towing, jail time, court fees, etc.

DUIs and DUI probation can be a very costly process.  Here is some more info on the costs of a DUI.

More Expensive Car Insurance Rates

While on probation for a DUI, if you are still allowed to drive, it will undoubtedly come with more expensive car insurance rates.  Your insurance company will be made aware of your situation and will increase the amount you have to pay.

Getting a DUI makes you much higher-risk from an insurance and liability standpoint.  Therefore, DUIs can cause your insurance rates to go up significantly, and they could stay elevated for as long as 5 years.


Now you know a bit more about what to expect during DUI probation.  If you are convicted of a DUI, there are many types of penalties and costs you might face.  Your particular probation sentence will depend on how your state handles the probation process, as well as other factors such as your criminal history and the seriousness of the charge against you.

DUI probation is not exactly a fun experience to go through.  If you are serving DUI probation, it’s a good idea to be on your best behavior at all times to ensure that the probation period ends as quickly as possible and that there are no additional penalties.  If you have recently been arrested for DUI, find a lawyer to discuss the details of your situation and find out about your state’s DUI probation process.

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