Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) and DUI/DWI
Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) is a status a judge can offer to a defendant driver. The defendant driver, if they successfully complete the probationary period (if there is one), can keep a clean driving record by avoiding a conviction. It is ultimately up to the judge whether they feel a driver is a good candidate, and the driver must accept waiving certain appeal rights in order to receive a PBJ.
The advantages of a PBJ are that the charge will not appear on your regular driving record. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) maintains a Probation Before Judgment record along with your driving record, and your PBJ will be recorded there. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other people will be able to see your PBJ record.
In the DUI/DWI context, a judge may give a driver Probation Before Judgment on a first offense. If you pick up another DUI/DWI within the next 10 years, you are actually ineligible to receive another PBJ. If there is more than 10 years since your last DUI/DWI PBJ, you may be eligible to receive a PBJ. However, just because a judge can by law give you a PBJ, does not necessarily mean they will give you a PBJ. After all, when the judge has an ability to give a PBJ, it is still the judge’s option to offer you a PBJ.