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Probation and a DUI Charge in Utah

Interviewer: How does probation factor into a DUI charge?

Phil Wormdahl: Probation comes into play after you’re sentenced. When you’re sentenced on a class B misdemeanor, the maximum time you can serve in jail is 180 days or 6 months. A judge might impose the entire jail sentence or a partial jail sentence where he suspends some of the time and places you on probation for the remainder. Probation basically keeps your case open and allows the court to continue to have jurisdiction over you and your case.

Probation Can Be Supervised or Unsupervised

If you violate probation or fail to fulfill some of the requirements, the judge may un-suspend the jail time they suspended. If they do that—then off you go. Frequently the probation period is going to be 12 months, and the probation can either be supervised or unsupervised.

Unsupervised probation is sometimes called bench probation. The judge directs you to stay out of trouble and you don’t have to check in with anybody. Supervised probation is the opposite. The other type of probation that really isn’t a type of probation but might feel like probation is that pre-trial restriction type probation I mentioned earlier.

You might get booked into jail. You can post bail to be released. That money is being put up to make sure that you show up at court, and when you show up to court you get it back. Or you might be able to leave what they call on your own recognizance. This means they don’t think you’re going to abscond from court. So here’s your court date, make sure that you show up and out you go.

Pre-Trial Restrictions Are Similar to Probation

The middle ground might be some type of pre-trial confinement, or pre-trial service type release where you’re reporting to a pre-trial supervising entity in Salt Lake County. You have to report on a regular basis. You may be subject to urine testing. That might feel like probation, but technically it’s not.