Probation Violation

If you were recently convicted of a crime, you may have been given probation as part of your sentence.  As an alternative to jail, this probably seems pretty lenient—after all, you get to serve your sentence at home and go about your life as usual, right? While this may be true to an extent, if you are charged with a probation violation, you could face far tougher penalties.

When you were first sentenced, the judge most likely assigned a probation officer to your case. This person is responsible for keeping tabs on you and making sure you abide by the terms of your probation, and part of those terms may include meeting with him or her on a regular basis. As a result, missing a scheduled meeting with your probation officer is usually a violation—in fact, it’s one of the most common types.

Your probation sentence probably included other ground rules, many of which may be based on your original offense. For example, if you were found guilty of driving under the influence, your alcohol use may be restricted and even monitored through random drug and alcohol testing. Other common requirements for probation include performing community service, attending a drug or alcohol education program, and paying monthly probation fees. 

Along with any of the specific terms you are given, your probation sentence is likely to include a number of basic limitations. You may not be allowed to move, change jobs, or even leave the state without permission from your probation officer. And, since you are expected to abide by the laws in your area, you could be charged with violating your probation if you are facing new criminal charges or are caught associating with criminals.

So what happens if you are charged with a probation violation? Since your probation officer has total discretion over the type of punishment you receive, it’s all up to him or her. If you have no prior violations on your record and committed a minor offense, you may only be given a warning. However, for more severe violations or repeat offenses, your probation officer may let a judge decide your punishment in court. If you are found guilty, the judge may then impose additional probation terms, extend the length of your sentence, or even revoke your probation completely and put you behind bars instead.

However, because your probation officer must prove that you actually violated your probation terms, you may be able to fight your charges and avoid the consequences of a probation violation.

AK Alaska LA Louisiana OH Ohio
AL Alabama MA Massachusetts OK Oklahoma
AR Arkansas MD Maryland OR Oregon
AZ Arizona ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
CA California MI Michigan RI Rhode Island
CO Colorado MN Minnesota SC South Carolina
CT Connecticut MO Missouri SD South Dakota
DE Delaware MS Mississippi TN Tennessee
FL Florida MT Montana TX Texas
GA Georgia NC North Carolina UT Utah
HI Hawaii ND North Dakota VT Vermont
IA Iowa NE Nebraska VA Virginia
ID Idaho NH New Hampshire WA Washington State
IL Illinois NJ New Jersey WI Wisconsin
IN Indiana NM New Mexico WV West Virginia
KS Kansas NV Nevada WY Wyoming
KY Kentucky NY New York DC Washington DC