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Car Accidents While on DUI Probation

Were you previously convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California? If you’re on informal probation for a DUI that occurred in the past one to three years, does this mean that you can be arrested now that you’ve been involved in a car accident?

First, let’s take a look at what it means to be on “informal probation” for a DUI in California. Since most DUIs are misdemeanors (first, second, and third DUIswithin 10 years and without serious injuries), DUI defendants are generally placed on misdemeanor probation, which typically lasts up to three years, though it can last longer.

Informal Probation for Most DUI Offenders

Unlike felony probation, the defendant isn’t required to check in with a probation officer. Instead, he or she 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.

Conditions of California DUI 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 ordered 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. This is often referred to as a “probation violation.”

Examples of DUI probation conditions:

  • Pay court-ordered fines
  • Community service
  • Attend DUI School
  • 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

So, what if you were in an auto accident while on DUI probation? 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 your driver license was suspended for DUI and you caused a car accident while driving on a suspended (or revoked) license, you could get in trouble because technically, you broke the law by driving on a suspended license for DUI. In that case, it is possible that your probation could be revoked or new probation conditions could be imposed.

If you did get into a crash while driving on a suspended license for DUI, contact us at once for legal representation at your upcoming probation violation hearing.

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