Rather than jail time, you may have been given a probation period if you were convicted of a crime. These periods of supervision have conditions that must be followed or you could face even more consequences. How serious is a probation violation? Here is what could happen if you go against the terms of your sentence.
What counts as a violation?
Everyone's probation periods are different, so it is important for you to understand the terms of your own sentence. You have a right to ask about your terms and understand exactly what you can and cannot do.
Some common violations include not reporting to a probation officer at the appointed times, not paying required fines, leaving the state without permission or supervision and committing other crimes while on probation. Violations are not limited to this list though. Anything that breaks a condition of your probation sentence could have consequences.
If you violate your probation terms, your probation officer decides what happens next. They can order you to appear at a hearing where they will present evidence of the violation and ask the judge to order certain consequences. Some officers may choose to give you a warning instead of immediately requesting a hearing, but they are not required to do this.
There are many penalties you might face after a hearing. Some examples are:
· Rehab programs
· Community service
· Counseling sessions
· Heavy fines
· Lengthened probation period
· Jail time
The penalties will usually correspond to how severe the violation was and how many times you have violated your probation terms in the past. For example, using or possessing drugs while on probation may cause the judge to order jail time.
If you must attend a hearing
Probation officers are required to give you a written notice of a violation hearing. You always have a right to be represented by an attorney in court and to present evidence and witnesses that help your case. If you need to attend a hearing or your officer did not give you written notice that you were supposed to be at a hearing, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney immediately. You deserve to have your rights protected. An attorney can fight the claims against you and work to decrease the penalties that might be imposed on you.