If you’re convicted of a DUI, one common consequence is the ordering of probation for a set amount of time into the future. During probation, there are various requirements that you must meet, and one of them, typically explained by the judge during your hearing, is that you’re not allowed to commit any crimes. Any violation of the probation terms can carry fairly serious repercussions, up to and including serious fines and/ or extended jail time.
Many people ask the question, then, whether a traffic ticket or traffic violation laws might count as a violation of probation. Technically, after all, the ticket is being given to you because you did something that violated a law. You were cited by a police officer, and many probation offers are very clear on the requirement that, any time you come in contact with an officer, you are to inform them immediately. So what do you do, and what can you expect from this?
The reason why this is the case lies in the fact that, on the scale of criminal activity, traffic tickets are fairly minor infractions; in most areas they’re considered civil violations. That isn’t to say that they’re not dangerous, disruptive, and illegal – they are – but compared to the types of crimes people are referring to when they talk about probation violations, they’re not as high on the priority list.
With that said, in some cases, a traffic ticket is considered a criminal violation (as opposed to a civil one). This depends on where you are and what the violation was. In some states, for example, speeding tickets are criminal violations; in some states, they are civil violations until they exceed 20 mph over the speed limit. This will largely depend on the specific circumstances of your situation.
In most cases, though? You shouldn’t worry. Of course, going out and getting traffic tickets while on probation for DUI doesn’t look very good, and if your case is a close call in court, such behavior could cause the judge to lean away from giving you a break in the future. Basically, it’s much better to just avoid the situation altogether than it is to worry about how the consequences might affect you, since you just never know.
If you have concerns about your DUI probation, it is a good idea to speak to an experienced DUI attorney. Your lawyer can help you to better understand your options and the requirements of your probation.