FAQs about Probation Violations
After being released from jail or prison, people can remain on probation for many years. During this time, they must follow a set of conditions or they risk being sent back to jail. Individuals on probation must be vigilant about their behavior, as the courts are not so forgiving of probation violations. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about probation violations to help you understand what you can expect if you break the rules.
What is Probation?
Probation is granted when individuals are allowed to stay in their community rather than go to jail or prison. Typically, probation is granted for low-level crimes or granted after a period of incarceration. When on probation, individuals must obey court-ordered rules and stay under the supervision of a probation officer.
Common conditions of probation include:
- Performing community service
- Attending scheduled meetings with your probation officer
- Not using drugs or alcohol; taking random drug tests
- Paying required fines
- Staying away from certain places and/or people
- Showing up for mandatory court appearances
- Not committing any other crime while on probation
When individuals break these conditions, it is considered violating their probation.
What are some of the most common violations?
You can violate probation in many ways which is why it is so important that when on probation, you fully understand what is expected of you.
Some of the most common reasons people are charged for violating probation include:
- Leaving the county you reside in or leaving the state
- Failure to pay fines
- Not attending meetings with your probation officer or missing court dates
- Positive drug tests
- Losing your job
- Failing to report necessary information changes, like a change of address after moving
What happens right after I violate my probation?
Once your probation officer is made aware of your violation, the next steps will be up to their discretion. They may give you a warning, or you may have to attend a probation violation hearing.
What happens at a probation violation hearing?
During a probation violation hearing, you will be presented with evidence against you that shows you violated your probation. During this hearing, you have the opportunity to argue against the evidence or present any other evidence that can help your case. If you are attending a hearing, it’s a good idea to have a defense attorney on your side to help you get the best possible outcome.
What are the penalties for violating probation?
If you are found guilty of violating your probation, you face numerous penalties. The judge may decide to revoke your probation and impose penalties for your initial offense. For example, if you were arrested for a misdemeanor and were granted probation instead, having your probation revoked means you will now face the penalties for the initial misdemeanor offense.
Other consequences may be:
- Additional time on probation
- More strict conditions of your probation
If you have never violated probation before and seem remorseful, the judge may not penalize you for your first offense.
I violated my probation but wasn’t caught. Am I in the clear?
Just because you don’t think you’ve been caught doesn’t mean that you are in the clear. Your probation officer and the courts may very well be aware that you violated your probation. In this case, there might be a bench warrant out for your arrest.
Bench warrants are ordered by the judge when an individual either misses a court date or violates their probation. With a bench warrant, police are allowed to arrest you at any time.
What To Do If You Have Violated Your Probation
If you are currently facing charges for violating your probation, or suspect there may be a bench warrant out for your arrest, contact us at Hager & Schwartz, P.A.. We can help you handle this situation before it gets any worse.