Can You Drink on Probation

Can You Drink On Probation? What’s Allowed and What’s Not

When you’re sentenced to be placed under probation, you lose some of the freedom you used to enjoy. The list usually includes drinking alcohol.

The conditions specified by the court for your probation period determine whether you can drink or not. The terms or conditions vary by state and the type of probation.  

It is important that you understand the terms of your probation because a violation could send you to jail. This article aims to help you understand the effects of drinking so you don’t end up facing more legal problems.

Factors That Determine If You Can Drink On Probation

Probation basically means that the state is watching over you to ensure you are complying with the law and the terms of your probation. 

The terms or conditions that a judge may impose are dependent on various factors that may include but are not limited to the following:

Nature of the offense

Your probation conditions may not include a prohibition to drink alcohol if your offense was not drugs-or alcohol-related.

However, in some cases, the judge may still include alcohol prohibition among the terms of probation even if the offense falls under the said category.

Probationer’s personal history of offenses

Even if the offense did not involve alcohol or drugs, the probation terms may still include restrictions on drinking alcohol if you have a personal history of alcohol or drug abuse. 

The restriction is a preventive measure because there is a high probability that you could violate your probation conditions if you’re drunk.

Applicable local or national laws

Judges set the conditions or terms of probation which must be based on applicable local and national laws. Any special conditions must be related to the nature of the offense that was committed.

The conditions should also be in line with the basic goal of probation which is to rehabilitate the defendants without exposing them to hardened criminals in jails while protecting society from any further criminal acts from the defendant.

Why Is Drinking Usually Not Allowed While on Probation?

The answer is quite simple:

Getting into arguments and unbecoming behavior is more likely when you are drunk.  So if you’re drinking while on probation, you are bringing yourself closer to the jail gate.

Why Is Drinking Usually Not Allowed While on Probation

But, here’s the thing.

The judge may allow you to drink alcohol while on probation if you’re of legal age. The same applies if you haven’t been convicted for an alcohol or drug-related offense or you don’t have any drug or alcohol abuse history.

How Would The Court Know If You Violated Your Probation?

The court will require you to wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) ankle bracelet. The device can check and detect alcohol in your perspiration every 30 minutes.

The results are uploaded to a private company and positive results are sent directly to the court. You may be required this kind of monitoring if you are convicted of a DUI offense.

You may also need to undergo random Urine Ethylglucuronide (EtG) Testing which can detect alcohol in urine after up to 2 days.

It’s effective even if you consume only a few drinks. It can even detect the substance 5 days or longer after heavy drinking.

Should You Tell Your Probation Officer That You Drank?

Now, what if your probation didn’t require you to wear an anklet bracelet or undergo the EtG test?

Well, honesty can make a big difference in how your probation officer would respond upon knowing that you drank during your probation period.

If you try to lie about it, the officials may think that you are manipulating them.  They may not be kind and understanding about your struggle to stop drinking alcohol.

What happens next?

After knowing more about your violation, your probation officer has the option to issue a warning.

He may even require you to appear in court for a violation hearing. In both cases, you have to inform your criminal defense attorney.

If it is proven that there have been probation violations, the court can revoke the probation, extend the probationary period, or add more conditions.

They can also impose heavy fines, send you to jail, and other legally valid options.  The penalty usually depends on the nature and severity of the violation.

What Do You Do If Your Probation is Revoked?

A revoked probation does not automatically mean that you will be spending some jail time. There will be a revocation hearing where you can defend yourself with the help of a defense attorney.

The prosecutors should also prove in court that you have violated one or more of your probation conditions.

How to Stay Away From Alcohol While On Probation

How to Stay Away From Alcohol While On Probation

Avoiding alcoholic drinks can be difficult when they are served during certain occasions or parties. Here are some tips to help you stay away from alcohol.

  1. Avoid events where you might find it difficult to avoid drinking alcohol. This is the best way for those who are on DUI probation.
  2. Always have someone with you who wouldn’t be afraid to remind you why you should avoid anything that is intoxicating.
  3. In parties or social events, bring some non-alcoholic beverages with you. Try to focus on other interesting and delicious food to take your mind off the temptation of drinking alcohol.
  4. Think of the consequences if you give in to the temptation to drink alcohol.


If you’re not sure whether you can drink on probation or not, you need to discuss with your defense attorney all the terms and other rules that you have to comply with while on probation.

The last thing you want to happen is to violate the terms of your probation simply because you did not understand them correctly.

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