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What Occurs at a DUI Probation Hearing

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 202

After a defendant has plead guilty to a DUI, plead guilty to a lesser offense, or been found guilty following trial they will be sentenced by a Judge. In a typical DUI case this sentence can include jail, fines, community services, alcohol treatment, ignition interlock requirements, and a condition to stay out of trouble.

If at a later date the defendant receives notice from the Court that a Probation hearing has been set this is not normally a good thing. Generally when this type of hearing is set it is at the request of the Probation department and usually involves an allegation that one of the conditions of the sentence the defendant agreed to has not been followed.

First of all it is never a good idea to walk into Court, especially a probation hearing without an Attorney. If the Probation hearing was set for a violation of one of the conditions of the sentence, if those allegations are proven the defendant can face sanctions ranging anywhere from jail to fines to community service.

So what occurs at this hearing. Prior to the start of the hearing the Defendant will be informed what the allegations are. Typically this comes in the form of a probation report and is actually what is sent into the Judge to set the hearing in the first place. A defendant has three options at this point. They can either admit the allegation, admit the allegation with explanation, or they can deny the allegation.

If the allegation is admitted than basically the Defendant is stating the allegation is true and therefore they violated the conditions of the sentence. This is kind of like pleading guilty. At this point the Judge can impose a sanction and the Defendant will have to abide by whatever gets imposed. If a suspended sentence was imposed at the time of sentencing than the Judge has the remaining balance of jail at their disposal.

If the allegation is admitted with an explanation than the Defendant is offered a chance to explain what happened, and present any mitigating circumstances to not impose any sanctions. If an allegation is true than in my opinion its best to go with this option and try to take responsibility for the slip up. Depending on what the allegation is a sanction may not be imposed if the Judge is sympathetic.

If the allegation is denied than a contested revocation hearing is set. This is kind of like a trial, except the Prosecution only has to prove the allegation was committed by a preponderance of the evidence, not by beyond a reasonable doubt. The difference in legal standards make these hearings difficult, but in some cases it is necessary to challenged the allegation.

Matthew Leyba is a DUI Attorney in Seattle, WA. His practice focuses exclusively on DUI defense and other serious traffic offenses. He also maintains a Seattle DUI Defense blog where he discusses everything DUI related, including news, information, and cases

Source: EzineArticles
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