Probation is sometimes part or all of a criminal defendant’s sentence. Probation allows an individual to remain a member of the community after his or her jail time (if any) has been successfully completed. A probation violation can send that individual to jail or have other adverse consequences.
The courts are able to legally grant second chances to criminals in many different ways such as expunction and pardoning a crime. Another way that a convicted criminal can regain a similitude of freedom is through completing probation. Probation is a period of time where the convict is not incarcerated and is subject to a plethora of rules, meetings, and regulations if they want to stay out of jail. A convict can be given probation to complete the remaining time of a jail sentence or even in lieu of going to jail at all. Probation is an option for many misdemeanors and “probation-able” felonies.
You must follow the rules of your probation
As stated before, if allowed to be on probation, the convict must adhere to rules set by the court and their probation officers. Many of these regulations include keeping a distance from certain areas, for example a school, if they are a sex offender, abiding by a curfew, keeping a job, and living in a specific area.
There are a few levels of probation which and they are intensive, standard, unsupervised, and informal probation. The intensive supervision requires the convicted person to constantly be tracked and many times to stay inside the confines of their homes. Under standard and unsupervised supervision, the convict is required to meet on a regular basis with their probation officers and, with outstanding progress, can be taken off of probation.
The most relaxed form of probation is informal supervision where the convicted criminal is not required to meet with their probation officers but they are subject to drug testing and occasional searches. Regardless of the level of probation sentenced, the rights given through the fourth amendment, guarding citizens from unlawful search and seizure, are immediately revoked. But, probation cannot be taken lightly or seen as an opportunity to deceive the law and its apparent mercy.
How to avoid a violation
Avoiding a possible violation of probation is very easy; one just has to adhere to the rules set by the court at their sentencing. For instance, if a condition of a convicted stalker’s probation is to never contact their victim, through any medium, then they should refrain from doing so. But, if the court discovers that the convict has sent a letter to the victim regardless of the innocence or intention, that is a direct violation of their probation and the appropriate consequences will follow.
Also, if a convict who is on probation misses their meetings with an appointed probation officer, then that officer can re-enter their case back into the legal system and the convict’s sentence will be at the discretion of a judge. Therefore, the best way to avoid violations of probation is to adhere strictly to the conditions of their sentence and to live a reformed life to show the court that their decision has made a beneficial impact on the convict and in society.
This is a very serious offense
Violating probation is a serious matter because it could jeopardize the convict’s ability to retain probation or it could nullify the agreement with the court and put them in prison. A violation of probation is when any term of the probation is broken. Terms of the probation could include abstaining from drugs and if during a drug check, traces of drugs are found in the body of the convict, they are in complete violation of their probation.
Probation is a sentence with conditions and even though it appears to be a better deal than imprisonment, if the conditions are compromised, the convict is subject to re-sentencing and could possibly receive the maximum prison sentence. Just like expunction and pardons, probation is a gift, a second chance given to a convict by a court that showed faith in a person’s ability to change.
Probation: Not the Same as Parole
It’s important to not confuse probation and parole :
- Probation follows a county jail sentence or is given as the sole consequence of a crime, with no jail time.
- Parole follows a state prison sentence. It is granted after a convicted person serves time in prison.
What Is a Probation Violation?
If probation is part or all of the sentence you have been given after a criminal conviction, you should be aware of the various ways that you could violate your probation – because of the negative consequences. Some of the more common probation violations include:
- Failure to Appear: A scheduled court appearance is often a condition of probation. The purpose is to provide the court with a progress report on how a defendant is doing in the community. If the defendant doesn’t appear for this court appearance, a judge may consider it a probation violation.
- Failure to Report: A defendant’s probation may require him or her to report to a probation officer at scheduled times. Failure to report as scheduled may result in a probation violation.
- Violation of Rules: Probation often includes one or more rules from the judge that prohibit the defendant from visiting certain places or people. If the defendant breaks these rules, it’s a probation violation.
- Failure to Comply: Mandatory rehabilitation or community service may be part of a defendant’s probation.
- Failure to Pay: If the defendant doesn’t pay a fine or pay restitution to a victim as ordered, the judge may consider this lack of action a probation violation.
- Possession of Illegal Substances: Possession of illegal weapons or drugs is a common probation violation.
- Committing a Crime: Not committing any further crimes is mandatory during probation. A conviction for a new crime will be a probation violation.
- Being Arrested: Regardless of whether someone on probation is charged with a crime, if he or she is arrested during probation, it will probably be considered a probation violation.
After a Probation Violation
If you have violated your probation, one or more of the following consequences are a possibility:
- Prison or jail time
- Extension of your probation
- Modifications of your probation terms
- Revocation of your probation
- Community service
- Physical labor or community service
- Mandatory substance abuse treatment
Get an Attorney’s Advice about Your Probation Violation
If you have violated your probation, or if a law enforcement agency alleges that you violated your probation, the attorney representing you can work to reduce the negative consequences of the violation. Contact an experienced criminal attorney today to discuss your circumstances.