What Will Happen in Court for Driving on a Suspended License While on Probation for a Past DUI?


If you happen to get probation for a DUI charge, you will likely have a number of conditions attached to that probation. In the simplest form, probation is a contract between you and the state that requires you to abide by certain terms in order to avoid a jail sentence or other consequences. One of those conditions in every probation agreement is that you will avoid any further criminal activity while you are on probation. Driving with a suspended license is a crime, and it will sometimes trigger a probation revocation. Here’s what to expect depending on your specific situation.

Determining outcomes based on the number of DUIs you have gotten
First, you should consider the critical question of just how many DUIs you have gotten before. If you are on probation for a first DUI, then you are likely to receive more leniency. If you have had three or more, then you are likely facing felony charges. In this situation, your consequences for that probation violation will likely be much worse. Good lawyers often advise their clients about the effects of prior convictions.

A probation revocation hearing
The district attorney in your case will have some discretion on whether to try to revoke your probation. In most cases, if you are actually charged with driving under suspension, the prosecutor will choose to file for a revocation. This will lead to a hearing in which a judge will consider the arguments on whether you have violated your probation in such a material way that your agreement should be revoked.

The challenging thing about these hearings is that the state only has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated one of the conditions of probation. This standard is much lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard that applies in criminal cases generally. Preponderance of the evidence means that they just have to prove that it was more likely than not that you drove under suspicion.

Consequences for driving under suspension
If your probation is revoked, then you will likely be returned to whatever penalty was probated in the first place. This means that if you had been sentenced to 30 days in jail probated for two years, then you will have to serve the 30 day sentence that would have applied in the first place. If you have a good lawyer, you can sometimes reach an outcome that is much more advantageous. In general, though, you can expect the state come down hard in this situation.