What is DWI Probation?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 January 2020
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense that means a person is driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drug use. A DWI charge can carry penalties that include jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspension. In some cases, however, judges may give an offender probation instead of jail time. When a person is given DWI probation, he is allowed to remain in the community, but is under the supervision of a probation officer and required to submit to mandatory restrictions. This may include the suspension of his driver’s license and the requirement to remain in the jurisdiction throughout the probationary period.

Typically, DWI probation requires the DWI offender to meet with a probation officer regularly. The exact schedule on which an individual has to meet with a probation officer may depend on the jurisdiction in which he committed the crime and the particular charge of which he was convicted. An individual may have to travel to his probation officer’s office for these meetings, but his probation officer may also have the right to visit him at his home or place of employment in some cases. In fact, a probation officer usually has the right to show up at an offender’s home unannounced.


There are many restrictions that may be placed on an offender during his probation. For example, he will likely be restricted from leaving the jurisdiction for any reason, unless he has obtained his probation officer’s permission. He may also lose the right to quit a job or change employment without his probation officer’s approval. A person who is on DWI probation is typically also restricted from using drugs and alcohol and required to stay away from places in which drugs or alcohol are being served or used. An individual on DWI probation may also have his license suspended, or he may be restricted to driving only during the day for the purpose of going to work or school.

Counseling may be required as part of DWI probation as well. For example, a person who is given this type of probation may be required to submit to counseling and treatment for alcohol and substance abuse. Sometimes a person on DWI probation is also required to attend classes related to his offense. For example, he may be required to complete a drunk driving course or workshop.

While an individual is on DWI probation, he may also face drug or alcohol testing, with or without prior notice. This essentially means he is required to submit to drug or alcohol testing at any time. Sometimes a person who has been convicted of a DWI offense also has to have a special device installed on his car. He has to breathe into it before he can start his car. If the device determines that his alcohol levels are above a certain amount, the ignition will not work.


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