It is important to realize that if you violate your probation, this is considered to be a very serious offense. Probation violations occur when you break the terms or conditions of your probation. The consequences associated with probation violation usually depend on a variety of factors including:
- The nature and seriousness of the violation.
- Whether you have any prior violations.
- Whether there are other circumstances that may lessen or increase the severity of the situation.
If you are found to be in violation of your probation, this violation may result in significant penalties, such as heavy fines, extended probation, jail time, or more. For these reasons and more, having an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical.
How Probation Is Violated
Probation typically runs from one to three years, but may also last for several years depending on the original offense. As stated above, generally, a probation violation occurs when you ignore, avoid, refuse, or otherwise break the terms or conditions of your probation at any time during the probation period.Probation may be violated in many different ways. Circumstances that may lead to a probation violation include:
- Not appearing during a scheduled court appearance on a set date and time.
- Not reporting to your probation officer at the scheduled time or place.
- Not paying any required fines or restitutions (to victims) as ordered by a court.
- Visiting certain people or places, or traveling out of state without the permission of your probation officer.
- Possessing, using, or selling illegal drugs.
- Committing other crimes or offenses.
- Getting arrested for another offense, regardless of whether criminal or not.
I Violated my Probation – What Happens Next?
Warning or Request to Appear in Court: Probation officers can decide to issue a warning, or require you to appear in court for a probation violation hearing. A probation officer may consider the severity and type of condition violated, past probation violations or warnings, and other considerations when making the decision. If you are requested to appear in court, the probation officer will request some form of penalty, which may potentially include jail time.
Sentencing: If you are found guilty of probation violation, sentencing will occur shortly after the probation hearing, at which time the court may extend your probation, impose additional probation terms, order you serve a brief time in jail, or revoke your probation altogether and require you to serve out any remaining time of your original sentence in prison. Factors a judge may consider in determining your sentence may include the nature and manner of the offense and whether the offender was a “first-time” or “repeat” offender, among other considerations.
Your Legal Rights at a Probation Hearing
If you are facing probation violation charges, it is important to understand your legal rights to minimize or avoid additional penalties and consequences. Generally, you have the following rights:
- To receive written notice of the claimed violations against you
- To be heard by a neutral judge in court
- To have attorney representation
- To present evidence and witnesses to support your case, or refute evidence against you.
Penalties for Violating Probation
Judges have broad discretion to impose jail sentences or other penalties for probation violations, subject to the maximum limits of a particular state statute. Some penalties for violating your probation may include the following:
- Community service
- Attend rehabilitation
- Other programs aimed at correcting the behavior.
- Other penalties include having to pay large fines or restitutions (monetary fines to victims), or having to serve a brief time in jail. The judge may also revoke your probation altogether and require you to serve the remaining terms of your original sentence in prison.
Contact Brian Zeiger
Probation violations are serious offenses that occur when a person avoids or breaks any of the terms or conditions of his or her probation. When those terms are broken, the person
serving probation faces severe consequences and penalties, including the possibility of additional probation terms, significant fines, a revoked probation or, more significantly, jail time.
For these reasons and many more, it is critical to have an experienced attorney advocating on your behalf. Brian Zeiger is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will vigorously defend your rights. Contact The Zeiger Firm today at (215) 546-0340 for a consultation, and let us help you.