While it’s a favorable alternative to incarceration, probation is not easy. Depending on the terms of your probation, you may need to attend classes, get regular drug tests, or stay sober.
Probation can be exhausting, but violating probation will only set you back and result in even harsher penalties. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways people on probation find themselves in trouble while on probation is by being charged with a subsequent DUI.
If you are on probation and recently arrested for driving under the influence in Pittsburgh, you need to take it seriously with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer. Here’s what to expect if you receive a DUI while on probation and how the defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna, and Ness can help. Call (412) 435-1738 for a free initial consultation.
You have two cases now if you are on probation and recently received a DUI. Our DUI lawyers have helped countless individuals in similar situations. Let us explain your options. Contact us here.
The Penalties for Violating Probation in PA
Violating probation in Pittsburgh, no matter how minor, can land you right back in court. For technical violations, such as forgetting to report to your probation officer or failing a drug test, your probation officer will decide an appropriate punishment for the breach. However, if you commit another crime while on probation, your probation officer can arrest you immediately.
It is standard in Pennsylvania that you must not commit any new offenses during your probation period. A DUI arrest is a direct violation of that condition. So, if you are arrested for a DUI or any new crime during your probation, you can expect revocation and possible jail time.
Factors the Courts Will Consider
The courts will consider a few things before sentencing you for a DUI during probation. For example, they may look at your prior offenses, the nature of your violation, the severity of your DUI charge, and whether this is your first violation.
If you were already on probation for a DUI, you could expect harsher consequences for a second DUI while still on probation for the first. Prosecutors may argue that you did not learn from your mistakes and ultimately push for your probation to be revoked.
But if you were on probation for an unrelated offense, such as theft, and you do not have a prior DUI conviction, your sentence could fall under the first DUI offense guidelines.
Remember that no matter how minor, any new crime committed during probation is a serious violation of your probation.
Depending on your prior record and BAC during your latest DUI arrest, the judge will hand out anywhere from days to years in jail, fines ranging from $300 to $10,000, and more. To learn more about the specific consequences you face for a DUI arrest, review our guide on guide on Pennsylvania’s three-tier sentencing for DUIs.
What to Expect After a DUI While on Probation
If you are arrested and convicted of a DUI during probation, you will appear in court for a probation hearing. The judge will decide whether your DUI violation warrants stricter terms, modifications, or probation revocation. While every case is unique, here is the typical process after receiving a DUI in Pennsylvania while on probation:
Your Probation Officer Will File a Statement
Your probation officer will file a statement of violations with the court. A statement of violations is a document that explains the specific terms of your probation that you violated and the recommended consequences. Since a new criminal offense during probation is more severe than a technical violation, the penalties are also more severe.
You must review your probation officer’s statement with an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can carefully examine every claim made against you to determine how to attack their credibility with evidence, appeal your DUI charge, or argue for a modification to your probation rather than revocation.
Your Probation Will Likely Be Revoked
Prosecutors are typically tough and uncompromising when you violate the terms of your probation. To them, it looks as if you’re abusing the leniency you received for a prior offense, so they probably won’t be inclined to cut you any breaks for driving under the influence while still being punished. In many cases, the prosecutor will push to revoke your probation after a DUI.
You will serve the rest of your original sentence if your probation is revoked. This can mean active jail time for the offense you were on probation for and the maximum penalties for your DUI if convicted.
You Could Be Sent to Jail
You will probably be sent to jail and denied bond. However, your attorney can prevent jail or eventually secure your release in some circumstances. Your lawyer can argue on your behalf if a bond is denied and begin negotiations with the prosecutor.
Attend a Preliminary Hearing
A preliminary hearing, called a Gagnon 1 Hearing, will typically be held within 10 days after you are jailed. The judge will decide whether to keep you in jail until your next hearing. An attorney can represent you at your preliminary hearing and argue for your probation to be extended or modified rather than revoked.
From there, you will wait until your Gagnon 2 Hearing, where the judge will determine whether or not you violated your probation.
The Gagnon 2 Hearing
The Gagnon 2 Hearing typically occurs within eight weeks of your initial hearing. After hearing the evidence from both sides, if the judge determines you violated your probation and revokes your probation, your attorney can still file an appeal against the revocation within 30 days.
Your Pittsburgh DUI lawyer may only file a valid appeal if there was a lack of substantial evidence against you, an issue of law, or a violation of your constitutional rights. Their appeal should also be accurate, clear, and brief to avoid a denial.
A DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help
Again, you are looking at two cases when convicted of a DUI during probation: a standard DUI case and a probation violation case. With so much on your shoulders, a Pittsburgh DUI attorney can offer guidance and effective representation in both cases.
If you’re found guilty of the DUI, your attorney may be able to appeal or argue for a more desirable outcome. If you were accused of a DUI, but the charge is reduced, dismissed, or proven innocent, your lawyer can better argue against revoking your probation.
Worgul, Sarna, & Ness, P.C. has decades of experience handling DUI cases in Pittsburgh and will apply our extensive background and knowledge when handling your case. Even if jail is unavoidable, all hope is not lost. You may still be eligible for parole later on, and our attorneys will consider every possible angle to help secure your freedom.
You Have Rights After a DUI on Probation. Our Lawyers Can Help
We know violating probation with a DUI charge is terrifying, but you must protect yourself and pursue the best possible outcome. At Worgul, Sarna, and Ness, P.C., our DUI attorneys will fight against the revocation and challenge your DUI while on probation charge at every turn. Let us work to reduce or dismiss your DUI so you can move on with your life—just like we have for many other clients.