The existence of a prior conviction, if you are already on probation will affect everything in your case including negotiations between your Atlanta DUI attorney and the prosecutor. In addition, it may affect your liberty prior to trial in your current case because you may be incarcerated on a violation of probation because of these new charges. Your prior conviction can also affect the evidence at trial, depending on what your prior conviction was for, and the jury may hear about it. But most certainly, a judge will hear about it if you are convicted of the new charge.
It plants roots deeply within your case, your defense, and your criminal defense, and in many cases, it will affect all phases of your case.
The first rule for anybody on probation is: do not break the law. That is common across almost all clients if you are on probation, but other conditions include completing community service, paying a fine, or taking a Risk Reduction Course in a DUI case.
A condition might also be taking an alcohol and drug evaluation, especially in cases involving alcohol and drugs. Some jurisdictions just mandate those for every conviction, but attending impact panels, lectures, and educational requirements like that to rehabilitate the offender are common as well.
Just being accused of a DUI is an allegation of a probation violation. The DUI case is a separate situation and a separate case with a separate prosecutor who has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you in fact were in actual control of a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it was less safe to drive..
The probation case, however, is a completely separate affair where generally the probation officer, but sometimes the prosecutor, has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it was more likely than not that you were in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it was unsafe to drive.
It comes down to what your particular situation is, because there are no hard and fast rules in reality. Technically, an arrest while on probation can result in a separate arrest for a probation violation because you broke the law while on probation and therefore violated a condition of your probation. For example, a new arrest for DUI while on probation means that you have allegedly violated the laws of Georgia.
The standard of truth or the burden of truth is much less in the context of a probation violation so it is easier for a probation officer and a prosecutor to seek a violation of your probation than it is to seek a conviction for a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means:
A preponderance of the evidence is nowhere near the protection of beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is common for our clients that are on felony probation and arrested for a new DUI to suffer no consequences. Their probation officer will not seek to violate their felony probation because of this new arrest, because it is of a lesser severity than the felony conviction that they are already under a sentence for and frankly, too much trouble to deal with for the probation officer.
However, strangely, it is common that if someone is on misdemeanor probation, especially for DUI, when they get a new DUI charge to face a hearing on a violation of probation, their probation officer may arrest them in a misdemeanor context because the misdemeanor probation officer sees that new misdemeanor arrest and it is in that same ballpark, the same playing field as the previous conviction, which may have been for something else besides DUI.
But the officer, in a misdemeanor context, will more likely seek to violate your existing probation.