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What you need to know about your DUI probation

If you’re facing your first drunk-driving offense, you may not know that you have options when it comes to the outcome of your case. You could take the plea deal offered to you by prosecutors – even though it’s very likely that it’s not in your best interests – or you could obtain a skilled criminal defense attorney and see what your other (oftentimes better) options are.

One option that many people don’t realize they have when facing drunk-driving charges is probation. For those who don’t know, probation typically suspends a jail sentence, allowing a person convicted of a drunk-driving offense to return to their normal lives under very strict conditions. This option is generally considered better because it can mitigate a person’s chances of losing employment or spending excess time away from their family.

As we already said, though, DUI probations come with strict conditions, such as frequent check-ins with a probation officer and court-ordered attendance to alcohol classes. A person on probation also must submit to testing, such as for drugs or alcohol, and cannot commit another crime while serving probation.

So, what happens if you break the terms of your probation?

Here in Virginia, as is the case in other states, consequences can be severe. Under § 19.2-306 of the Virginia Code, judges in our state have the right to revoke the suspension of a sentence, meaning they may reinstate a sentence that had been suspended due to probation. This means that a person may be forced to serve the remainder of a sentence with the possibility of serving the maximum possible sentence, depending on how the judge rules. Our Leesburg readers can see the consequences of this by looking at a recent case out of Roanoke.

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