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Car Accidents While on DUI Probation in California


Were you previously convicted of DUI in Orange County? If you’re currently on probation for a DUI that occurred within the past three years, does this mean that will you be arrested now that you’ve been in a car accident?

First, let’s look at what it means to be on DUI probation, otherwise known as “informal probation” for a California DUI. Since most DUIs are misdemeanors, DUI defendants are generally placed on misdemeanor probation, which typically lasts up to three years, though it can last longer. Unlike felony probation, the defendant isn’t required to check in with a probation officer; instead, they must appear before a judge periodically.

Misdemeanor summary probation, sometimes called informal probation, applies to criminal offenders who don’t pose such a risk to the community that they need to be incarcerated or excessively monitored when released – which describes the majority of DUI offenders.

Complying With the Terms of Probation

Though informal probation may include a jail sentence, the point is for the defendant to serve their time under the court’s supervision and out of jail. If you’re placed on informal probation, the judge may agree not to incarcerate you or impose a fine so long as you agree to the terms of your probation crafted by the judge. If you fail to comply with one or more of the conditions, and you violate the terms of your probation, the judge can decide to modify or revoke your probation or put you in jail.

Examples of probation conditions:

  • Pay court-ordered fines
  • Community service
  • Participate in AA meetings
  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol
  • Not drive with any alcohol in the system
  • Install an Ignition Interlock Device
  • Agree not to break any new laws

But, what if you were in an auto accident? Would that count as “violating the law” and a probation violation? Simply getting into a car accident does not count as a new crime; nothing should happen providing your driving privileges were not suspended, restricted, or revoked at the time of the crash. However, if you were in an accident while driving on a suspended license for DUI, that’s another story. It would be a probation violation.

Searching for an Orange County DUI lawyer? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation.

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