Many people charged with minor probation violations simply give up and presume that they can’t correct the situation, but this is far from the case. Here’s what you need to know about probation violation and reducing or avoiding the most serious consequences.
About Probation Violation
A wide range of potential probation violations may subject you to a probation revocation hearing, including:
- Failure to pay court-ordered restitution or imposed fines
- Commission of another offense while on probation
- Failure to appear at a court hearing
- Refusing to submit or failing a required drug test
- Possession of drugs or weapons
- Failure to attend counseling, drug treatment or a batterer’s treatment programs
- Failure to report to a meeting with your probation officer
If probation is violated, the judge has three options:
- Reinstate your probation based on the same terms and conditions
- Impose new terms and conditions based on modifying your probation
- Revoke your probation and impose your jail or prison sentence
Violation of Probation Hearing: What to Expect
Probation is an important sentencing option that can keep you out of jail or prison, or shorten a potential jail or prison sentence. When a judge makes probation part of your sentence, you must comply with all of the terms and conditions or you may face probation revocation. If the judge determines that you violated your probation, you may face very serious consequences, including imposition of the jail or prison term associated with the underlying offense for which you are on probation.
Probation violation hearings present special challenges. In these situations, your guilt or any available defenses aren’t relevant. Neither is there any right to a jury; a judge will simply decide whether or not you complied with the terms of your probation. Another disadvantage in a probation violation hearing is that there is a lower burden of proof: The judge only needs to find that it is more likely than not that you violated your probation.
If the judge determines you’ve violated your probation, he or she can impose the sentence associated with the underlying offense for which you were put on probation.
If you have questions while reading this article, I welcome you to contact me for a free consultation.
When I work with clients on probation violation cases, I will work closely with you to develop a strategy for handling your probation violation, which provides the judge with a reasonable explanation for your failure to comply with the terms and conditions of your probation. I’m frequently able to convince the judge to reinstate my clients’ probation based on the same terms and conditions.
I will help facilitate your efforts to satisfy as many of the terms and conditions of your probation as possible before a hearing. The more substantial your compliance with these terms and conditions, the more likely it is that the judge will reinstate your probation or simply modify and extend your probation with minor changes.
If the judge does schedule a probation revocation hearing and you fail to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. It is much better for you to appear voluntarily than to be arrested and forced to appear before the judge.
Certain challenges unique to probation violations make it essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Some rules of evidence are relaxed during a probation revocation hearing, which may allow evidence like hearsay to be admitted that would not be admissible in a criminal trial. I vehemently fight against admission of such evidence based on other grounds, such as your constitutional right to confront witnesses.
Even if you know you have violated the terms of your probation, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of minimizing the impact of the probation violation. I’ve successfully represented thousands of people throughout Southern California, including many charged with violating their probation.
If you contact me promptly, I can advise you regarding what steps to take to reduce the chances of a jail or prison term. I have the time and resources to assist you in getting your probation reinstated so that you go home with your family, rather than to jail or prison.