Do I Have to Go to Court Before I Can Start My DUI Probation?

Question: I got arrested in Cobb County and I know that whatever happens, I'm probably going to be on probation. Whether the charge is DUI or reckless driving, I'm going to have to serve probation time for the sentence. So I'd like to find out if probation can be made retroactive to when I got arrested, which was about a month ago. That way I can be on probation now and then I can get credit for it when I finally go to court.

My DUI came after a cop pulled my car over for speeding and he asked me what I had to drink and I told him just 3 or 4 beers with dinner. I did everything he asked of me and I thought he was going to let me go home. He asked me if someone could pick up the car, but I couldn't find anyone to answer the phone because it was late at night and I guess they were all sleeping.

I didn't look great on the tests, but that could be because of my bad back, then again I guess it could be because of the booze, but I'm not admitting that. Everything looks a bit bad for me so maybe if I could knock off some probation that would help.

T.S. in Marietta, Georgia

Answer: Probation begins after the judge pronounces your sentence. A sentence only takes effect after you have pled or been convicted. So you cannot start probation until you have been to court. Again, you cannot start probation before your sentence is imposed.

In most courts, after sentencing, you will meet a probation officer who will explain to you the details of your probation. The probation officer will explain the requirements of your sentence and any time limits that exist.

If this is a first DUI charge, then your probation is likely to be for 12 months or less if you are given credit for time that you served in jail. If you must serve jail time, that will shorten the probation period, because instead of being on probation you will be incarcerated.

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