It is common for a person who is arrested for a DUI to have a single question of their attorney: do I have to go to jail? The answer is that you might be able to be put on probation instead of going to jail. However, there are some complications to this option that might make it a worse option than you think.
Keep reading for the facts, and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation if you have been charged with or accused of a DUI.
The Difference Between Parole and Probation
The first thing to understand is that parole and probation are not the same things. If you are on parole, it means you have first served time in jail and then been released early. Probation is decided during sentencing after you have been convicted and can keep you out of jail if you fulfill certain requirements of the court.
When it comes to DUI cases, the most common requirements include elements related to the crime, such as attending substance abuse treatment and DUI classes. You will also likely have to meet with a probation officer during the term of your probation.
If your DUI is charged as a misdemeanor and you are put on probation, it will be informal/summary probation. Instead of jail, you will need to pay restitution, complete community service, and likely meet with a counselor. Informal probation can only last up to one year.
On the other hand, a person charged with a felony who gets probation is on formal probation, which is much stricter. It requires regular check-ins with a probation officer, drug and alcohol testing, no contact with criminal associates, restitution payments, counseling, and, in many cases, house arrest. In most cases, formal probation will last two years.
Probation Options for a DUI Charge
It is generally true that a person facing a first-time DUI offense will pursue a wet reckless plea, which means that they will be eligible for probation and might even have their records expunged after a period of time. Felony DUI charges might offer probation, depending on the specifics. However, if the crime involved injury, then probation is not an option.
Talk to Your Attorney to Determine the Best Option
Whether it is your first or fourteenth DUI charge, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. You can do so by contacting Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation. We are standing by to help you find the best way forward.