Can You Drink While on Probation?

February 21, 2023

drink while on probation

Being on probation is serious, with specific conditions that must be followed. Drinking alcohol may be permitted in some cases, but not when the person has a specific offense related to alcohol. One example of this is DUI probation. Even when it is allowed, drinking while on probation can increase the chances of committing a second crime. This is why it is so important to be extra cautious when on probation.

How Do Courts Monitor Drinking?

There are two main ways for courts to monitor people on probation to see if they have been drinking alcohol. The first is random, unannounced alcohol tests. Urine tests are used for this, but they are not always effective. They do not detect anything if the person only had one drink. Besides that, alcohol only shows up in urine tests for 48 to 72 hours after it has been consumed.

Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) bracelets are also used and work differently. They are electronic and fit around the ankle, constantly sampling perspiration levels. These get reported to the court.

Other Probation Violations

Drinking alcohol is not the only possible kind of probation violation. Others include:

  • Being arrested on new criminal charges.
  • Driving with a suspended license.
  • Letting employment lapse.
  • Not notifying the probation officer of an address change.
  • Refusing to take periodic or random drug or alcohol testing.
  • Testing positive for alcohol or drugs.
  • Traveling out of state without consent from a probation officer.

Depending on the original offense and other factors, the probation officer may declare you to be in violation. Any of these violations can trigger bench warrants for arrests.

What if You Violate a DUI Probation?

In Pennsylvania, DUI probation violators face harsh consequences. They may get arrested and charged with additional crimes. It is not unusual for judges to revoke DUI probations, which can mean jail time for offenders. The penalties are determined by the nature of the violation. The court will look to see if there are previous violations and if anyone was injured among other things.

Once you are arrested, your probation officer will learn about what happened and there will be a court appearance. A statement of the probation violation will then be filed. The probation will be revoked and you may be sent right to jail. In some cases, DUI probation violators are denied bond.

You will be allowed to contact a defense attorney who can meet with you to discuss the case. The details are usually negotiated with the prosecutor afterward and a hearing will be set. At that time, your attorney will work to lessen the extent of your penalties in front of a judge who will provide the sentence.

West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Can Offer Advice if You Have Violated Your DUI Probation

Anyone who is on probation for an alleged offense needs to be overly cautious about consuming alcohol. If you need sound legal guidance in a DUI probation violation case, a skilled West Chester DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes can help. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 610-431-7900. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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