When someone is convicted of a DWI, whether through a guilty plea or after a trial, the individual is placed on probation. For misdemeanor DWIs, the probationary period is one to two years. For gross misdemeanor DWIs, the probationary period is generally two to six years. For counties in the Twin Cities metro area, a probationary period for third-degree DWI is usually three to four years. For second-degree DWI, the probationary period is typically four to six years.
For gross misdemeanor DWIs (third or second degree), the individual will usually be placed on supervised probation. Sometimes this supervision will require random testing for alcohol use, along with other intensive supervision. For misdemeanor DWI, the probation will likely require less supervision. With the right attorney, you can work to get unsupervised probation for a misdemeanor DWI and, in some instances, unsupervised or lightly supervised probation (i.e. no random testing or monitoring requirements) for gross misdemeanor DWIs.
But what happens if you violate your probation? That depends on, among other things the nature of the violation, the number of previous violations and the county that supervises your probation. Generally speaking, the most common probation violations on DWI offenses are the following:
Failure to Complete STS, EHM or Community Service
Sometimes, people don’t complete their sentence to service (STS), electronic home monitoring (EHM) or community service on time. Ideally, everyone would complete these requirements on time. If you’ve been given the option of STS or EHM in lieu of jail, you should do everything you can to complete the task on time. If you can’t, try to reschedule with your probation officer.
If the individual violates the probation agreement by failing to complete STS or EHM on time, the court will either give the person additional STS or EHM to complete, or order the balance of the uncompleted time converted to jail time (for example, if you failed to complete five days of STS, then the court will order you to do five days of jail instead).
Failure to Abstain From Alcohol
The penalty for failure to abstain from alcohol depends on the county. For a first violation in a metro area county, the penalty will usually vary from additional treatment and additional EHM to a few days in jail. Some counties, such as Wright County, always ask for jail time for failure to abstain from alcohol, even on a first violation.
If there are multiple violations for failure to abstain from alcohol, the court will likely order the individual to serve some jail time. Depending on any previous violations, the court may order the sentence executed (i.e., the person serves 365 days jail on a third-degree or second-degree DWI, or 90 days on a misdemeanor DWI) minus the time already served.
Failure to Remain Law Abiding, as a Result of a Non-DWI Offense
The penalty for this type of DWI probation violation depends on the offense. If the offense is something minor, like a petty misdemeanor littering charge, there will probably be no penalty. If the offense is a similar charge to DWI or involves alcohol or drugs, the penalty will range from additional jail time to an executed sentence.
Failure to Remain Law Abiding, Because of a New DWI Offense
If the individual is charged with a new DWI while on probation, the prosecutor will likely ask to execute all or part of the person’s sentence.
If you need help on a DWI probation violation, contact a qualified, experienced Minnesota DWI criminal defense attorney right away!