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How Probation is Determined in DUI Cases

As the holidays get closer, the drumbeat of anti-drunk driving campaigns will get louder and law enforcement agencies will implement more patrols to keep drunk drivers off the road. Universally, society does not want dangerous drivers on the road. At the same time, judges don't want to put people in jail who don't need to be there. Many drivers charged with DUI (or DWAI) are non-violent people who are gainfully employed and do not pose a significant threat to society.

Because of this, DUI offenders may be offered probation in lieu of jail time. While some may believe that it is simply a slap on the wrist, probation is actually not easy. Indeed, probationers must remain law-abiding and have no same (or similar) criminal offenses during their probationary period. Further, they must have regular meetings with their probation officers and be subject to random alcohol testing. (Abstinence from alcohol is a common probation requirement.) Offenders may also be required to attend DUI classes and DUI victim impact panels. Most importantly, they will be required to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

However, probation is not for everyone. Judges must determinate whether an offender is a legitimate threat to public safety before sentencing the person to probation. They consider the person's criminal history, the number of DUI (or DWAI) convictions and how close they are together (i.e. how many years apart between convictions), as well as any substance abuse issues. Those with a likelihood of success are offered probation.

If you have questions about your eligibility for probation, an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can advise you.

Source: Colorado.gov, Division of Motor Vehicles: Interlock Restricted License,

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