Was Lindsay Lohan Lucky? Washington DUI Probation Violations Much More Harsh.Jonathan Rands
By the time you read this you have heard the news and perhaps the debate on national legal talk shows: Was Lindsey Lohan treated fairly? Too little, too late? The debate goes on for as long as you care to listen or talk about it. For those who feel that she was treated too harsh consider the MANDATORY consequences of Washington DUI Probation Violations. Strict and specific terms for Washington DUI convictions require the court to order not only a...
By the time you read this you have heard the news and perhaps the debate on national legal talk shows: Was Lindsey Lohan treated fairly? Too little, too late? The debate goes on for as long as you care to listen or talk about it. For those who feel that she was treated too harsh consider the MANDATORY consequences of Washington DUI Probation Violations.
Strict and specific terms for Washington DUI convictions require the court to order not only a specific jail sentence, but also a very specific and “special” set of conditions for the duration of probation which is at least 2 years but frequently 5 years. If a person violates those conditions during the duration of probation, they must serve more mandatory jail time. These additional conditions of probation are: 1) Not drive a motor vehicle without a valid license and proof of financial responsibility; 2) Not drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours after driving; and 3) Not refuse a test of breath or blood upon lawful request by a law enforcement officer.
For each and every instance of a violation of any violation of these conditions the court shall order the person to be confined in jail for 30 days. This means that if charged (regardless of whether you are actually convicted) of a new DUI while on probation for a DUI and at the time of that arrest did not have a valid license, provided a portable breath test in the field at the time of arrest over a .08, but refused at the station, the person is required to serve 90 days in jail on top of whatever the original was and regardless of the sentence for the new DUI charge.
Probation hearings do not require the same level of proof as required to prove a crime. A sworn report by a police officer in the hands of the Judge is sufficient to prove you violated probation. The Judge has to impose the aforementioned 90 days at a minimum, if these special conditions are violated, but, in a case like Lohan’s where she violated the court’s other orders and conditions of sentence, the Judge also has discretion to impose the balance of the original sentence! Judges do not like to have their orders disregarded and will impose much longer jail sentences than 90 days.
As an example of this Judicial discretion: For a first DUI conviction in Washington a Judge will likely impose 365 days of jail and suspend 364 to ensure compliance. This means the person will serve 1 day of jail but for the term of probation have a possible 364 days that could be imposed for probation violations that occur over a 5 year period.
There is no real need to justify the Judge’s decision when it comes to imposes suspended jail time. In addition to the Judges ability to impose almost a full year of jail, each and every incident involving a violation of these “additional” terms of probation, the Department Of Licensing will be notified by the court and be ordered to suspended or revoke the drivers license for 30 days for each violation (total of 90 days in the scenario above) and if it is already suspended or revoked at the time the of the probation violation, it shall be extended by 30 days per violation.
Lindsay Lohan was given 90 days for her probation violations, but a Washington DUI case such as her’s, with the allegations she faced while on probation, 90 days would NOT have been the outcome, it would have been much more both from the Judge and the Department of Licensing.