Accused Of Violating The Terms Of Your Probation?
When convicted of a crime, defendants are sometimes placed on probation as part of their sentence, rather than serving their full term in jail or prison. As a condition of this supervised release, the defendant is required to comply with all of the court’s terms and conditions. Failure to do so is a probation violation, which can result in a county jail or state prison sentence.
If you violate the terms of your probation, you will be required to attend a California probation violation hearing – also known as a probation revocation hearing – before a judge. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the judge could decide to either reinstate your probation with the same terms and conditions, impose more stringent terms on your probation, or revoke your probation and send you to jail. Unlike a criminal trial, there is no jury, and the prosecutor merely needs to show – by a preponderance of the evidence – that you violated probation. This means that he only needs to prove that it is “more likely than not” that you are guilty.
Probation In California
Probation involves conditions, such as: paying restitution to the victim, mandatory attendance at drug and alcohol classes, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, having gainful employment, and performing community service. Probationary periods typically last for three years, though they can be extended to five years.
There are two different types of probation in the state of California: summary probation and formal probation.
Summary – or informal – probation is a form of generally inactive suspension of a person convicted of a misdemeanor. It typically involves no meetings with a probation officer, or checking in with a probation department. Summary probation is reserved for people who aren’t considered an endangerment to the community. Following a conviction, a person is granted a revocable release from jail or prison. The judge will frequently – though not always – schedule periodic progress hearings to monitor completion of the terms of probation. This is a conditional sentence – meaning that if defendants fail to comply with the terms of probation, the court may end summary probation and impose the original sentence, as well as additional penalties for the violation of the probation itself.
Formal probation requires reporting to a probation officer at least once a month. For more serious felony charges, a defendant could be placed on intensive supervision – entailing weekly meetings with a probation officer and electronic monitoring. Before a judge reaches a decision on felony probation, he is required to request a probation report from the county probation department. This department evaluates the defendant’s eligibility for probation, and makes a recommendation to the judge regarding the appropriateness, length, and conditions that should apply. If the defendant violates the conditions of probation, the judge can revoke it and send him to California state prison to serve out the initial sentence.
There are a number of reasons that you could face probation violation charges, including:
- You fail to complete a rehabilitation program or community service hours
- You fail to check in with your probation officer, or fail to appear in court for a progress report
- You fail to stay away from protected persons, or you are caught with illegal drugs or firearms
- You commit a new crime during your probation, or you’re arrested – even if no charges are filed
The Consequences Of Violating The Terms Of Your Probation
If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, it’s important to understand that penalties depend upon the nature of the violation and the severity of the underlying criminal case. For minor violations, you may be given a second chance – but for more serious transgressions, you could be rearrested and given a court date for a formal hearing. At this hearing, the prosecutor is required to prove that you violated the terms of probation. If found guilty, you could face a variety of penalties, including:
- Term of imprisonment in county jail or prison
- Extended period of probation with added terms
- Community service, public works, or enrollment in a rehabilitation or counseling program
The Results Of Your Hearing
The outcome of your probation violation hearing ultimately depends upon how the judge weighs the specific factors in your case. The prosecutor could also make a recommendation to the court regarding punishment.
Factors influencing your sentencing include:
- The number of times you’ve violated your probation
- Whether or not the probation violation involves a new crime
- The seriousness of those violations
- The attitude of the probation officer or department
- Mitigating or aggravating circumstances
Contact Us Immediately For A Free Case Review
If you – or someone you know – has been charged with a probation violation in San Diego County or surrounding areas, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. With over 28 years of combined experience, we have been defending clients accused of violating probation for many years.
Find out how we can assist you by setting up a free consultation. Don’t let a probation violation jeopardize your future – contact the Law Office of Gregory Garrison today!