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.
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. 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.
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