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What Is a Probation Violation?
A probation violation occurs when an individual placed on probation violates the terms of their probation. For example, an individual placed on probation in response to a theft commits a probation violation if they fail to appear in court as ordered or fail to meet up with their probation officer at the assigned time and place. Probation violations typically involve the aforementioned factors, but can also include:
- Missing a court-ordered act of community service
- Failure to pay due fines or restitution as ordered
- Associating with or meeting with prohibited persons or visiting prohibited venues
- Failure to retain gainful employment as ordered
- Committing another crime
What Happens When You Violate Probation?
Probation violations can be broadly defined as belonging to two distinct and discrete categories, technical violations and substantial violations. An example of a technical violation may be something like failure to participate in court-ordered community service, as mentioned earlier.
A substantial violation, on the other hand, typically refers to a more serious and intentional flaunting of the terms of probation. Committing another crime while under a probationary order would typically qualify as a substantial violation.
Judges and courts more generally are given wide latitude in terms of how they deal with probation violations. A first-time technical violation may result in nothing more than a warning, but could also result in re-sentencing depending on the nature of the violation and the disposition of the judge hearing the case. Substantial violations almost always result in the individual on probation seeing their probation revoked. In this case, the offender will have to serve the rest of their initial sentence.
Can You Violate Probation and Not Go to Jail?
Yes. It is possible to violate probation (generally on a technical violation rather than a substantial violation) and not see revocation of your probation. As discussed above, judges have a great deal of discretion in determining the legal response to a violation of probation.
Other penalties may be applied in certain circumstances. If, for example, you fail to meet with your probation officer, a judge may order increased surveillance or scrutiny of your schedule as well as an extension of your probation period. Failure to pay due fines or restitution may result in revocation of your probation, and in some states, the court may order wage garnishment as a response.
If the probation is taking place under the supervision of federal courts, certain violations specific to the terms of your individual probation (orders to refrain from drugs, gun ownership, etc.) can result in automatic revocation.
How Long do You Go to Jail for When Violating Probation?
There are many options facing a judge deciding how to deal with an offender who has violated probation but continuation and revocation are the primary options on the table.
Continuation of the probation period may be called for in response to a technical violation, but can also include additional terms of probation in response to said violation.
Revocation of the probation means that you might see a jail or prison term matching the sentence called for in response to the crime. Further, if part of a substantial violation of probation involved committing any further crimes, those charges will typically also be added to the upcoming court proceedings concerning the revocation.
Is the First Probation Violation a Misdemeanor?
A first probation violation may typically be looked upon more favorably (though, of course, it would be preferable to avoid all such violations if at all possible) by a judge, and can take the form of a technical infraction or a substantial violation involving the commission of a misdemeanor or a felony.
However, a violation of probation, in and of itself, is neither a misdemeanor nor felony.
Why Do I Need a Probation Violation Lawyer?
If you are currently on probation, you are already in a precarious legal situation requiring legal counsel. Whether you have committed a violation of your probation or not, it is highly advised that you retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
If you are accused of violating your probation, you could be facing revocation of your probationary period and a return to prison. A defense lawyer can help to craft the best possible defense.
Why Should I Hire a Probation Violation Attorney?
If you or someone you know has violated the terms of their probation, you should retain an experienced probation violation attorney to help you protect your rights. A probation violation attorney is familiar with the laws and procedures required to obtain an outcome in your favor.
Some of the other ways a lawyer can help you include:
- Being an intermediary between you, the courtroom and the prosecutors
- Defending you at your probation violation hearing
- Preparing you for your probation violation hearing
- Developing a logical approach, to implement the most helpful strategies for your case
- Helping protect your rights
- Assisting you in obtaining a reinstatement of probation
- Helping you avoid jail time
- Assisting you in getting a probation extension
- Representing you during your probation hearing
- Providing advice about ways to resolve a probation violation
- Helping you reduce or lessen your penalties for violating your probation
- Answering any inquiries you may have regarding your probation hearing
What Types of Cases Do Probation Violation Lawyers Handle?
Probation violation lawyers represent individuals who have intentionally or unintentionally violated their probation. Some of the ways an individual can be charged with violating their probation include the following:
- Failing to report to probation officer
- Committing new crimes
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Failing to complete community service
- Failing to enroll in rehabilitation
- Failing to pay restitution
- Being in possession of illegal drugs
- Being in possession of illegal guns and firearms
- Failing to appear in court for a progress report
- Being arrested
If you are accused of violating your probation you may face some severe punishments. You should never go into your probation violation hearing unprepared. Consult with a probation violation attorney today to help you develop a plan and establish the best approach for your hearing. that your case gets resolved with the best outcome for you.