Can I Drink Alcohol While on a DUI Probation?




Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in California. The majority of individuals facing charges for DUI face also face probation. The DUI probation happens in 2 ways, and each has a different impact on your rights and freedom. In general, drinking alcohol while still on DUI probation is not a good idea, but it’s also not technically illegal depending on your circumstances. In this article, the DUI Attorney explains in detail how and when drinking while on probation is prohibited.

Does DUI probation prohibit you from drinking?

Whether or not a DUI probation hinders offenders from alcohol consumption depends on the type of probationary sentence or order. There are 2 forms of probation that apply to DUI charges: the summary probation and full-fledged probation (suspended sentence). The 2 probation programs have varying functions and offer you different terms and rights. Generally, individuals who are given summary probation might be allowed to drink alcohol, but other probationers are not so lucky.

·       Summary probation

When you get a DUI, the judge might impose a summary probation. This type of probation doesn’t require check-ins and meetings with the officer. DUI offenders receiving this sentencing are usually placed under close inspection, and any additional criminal offense or DUI matters are a direct ticket to jail. This kind of probation means that the offender stays out of prison. The offender may have to complete community service work or fulfill other restrictions of probation, instead of doing serious jail time. Unfortunately, while you are serving a summary probation, something as small as littering can get you into big trouble with the police. Additionally, you also lose your right to decline breath tests as this type of sentence makes it mandatory.

The lawful limit for individuals on probation is also reduced from 0.08 to “any measurable amount” as outlined in Section 23600 of the California Vehicle Code. In other words, a positive result from a chemical test will likely seal your fate.  Depending on your body and the rate at which you metabolize the alcohol, this could be as little as one beer. Even though drinking might be legal for offenders receiving this sentence, you’re much safer not driving after indulging in ANY amount of alcohol, no matter how little you think you took.  

·       Suspended Sentence

If you are offered a Suspended Sentence or “full-fledged probation” as an alternative to serving jail time (as part of the reduced punishment or plea deal), the judge might order you to stop drinking as part of the probation. This type of probation involves strict supervision. You will need to meet with a probation officer and routinely check-in. This type of probation can also include sporadic alcohol and drug tests, searches of your home, or other invasive supervision. Orders from the court may include:

·       Providing your address

·       Staying within state borders

·       Not fraternizing with other criminals

·       Taking part in community service work, and

·       Enrolling in a rehabilitative program


What will happen if you drink alcohol while on DUI Probation?

Unless the court orders otherwise, you are free to drink alcohol (as long as you are not also breaking laws while doing so).  That being said, drinking alcohol becomes an issue if the court gave an order that prohibits any alcohol consumption or even hanging around establishments that serve alcohol.

Any actions that violate such orders are serious probationary violations. The court will most likely revoke the 3-5 year probation sentence. Once you violate the conditions of the probation and get re-arrested, the court will, once again, hold a hearing with new DUI charges with applicable DUI penalties (California DUI Penalties).

Whenever you are arrested for driving under the influence while on probation for DUI, make sure you call the DUI Attorney, Criminal Defense Hero immediately to battle the probation violation and the new DUI offense. If you need assistance for your DUI charges and probation violation, talking to professionals like Attorney Don Hammond can significantly improve your chances of a fair and favorable outcome.

To learn more about the general differences between Probation and Parole in criminal cases, see our article Probation v Parole.



Common DUI Probation Laws

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


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