Probation is an optional punishment available under certain circumstances for both felony and misdemeanor convictions. It is basically a set period of time ordered by the court during which the defendant must stay out of trouble and refrain from doing certain things. Probation may be granted in place of incarceration entirely or as a term for a shorter period of incarceration.
Violating the terms of probation can result in severe consequences, including possible jail or prison time. If a defendant is accused of violating the terms of probation, they are entitled to challenge the allegation at a formal hearing with witnesses and evidence.
If you or someone you care about is charged with a probation violation, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help explain the charges and properly defend against them. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555.
Alleged Probation Violations
A probation violation is conduct by a probationer that violates the terms of probation set forth by the court. The conduct may be the commission of a new crime or other conduct specifically prohibited by the court.
An example of a probation violation, that would not constitute a new crime, might be where a person on probation for selling drugs is ordered to stay 100 yards away from any school grounds and is then found on the sidewalk outside of a school.
Probation Revocation Hearings
If a prosecutor or probation officer believes that a probationer has violated the terms of his probation, they may file a motion to revoke (or cancel) probation. If that happens, the probationer is entitled by law to a Probation Revocation Hearing in front of a judge.
At a Probation Revocation Hearing, the probationer may present evidence and witnesses and cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge determines whether the probationer in fact violated probation and, if so, what the consequences of the probation violation will be.
Unlike in a criminal trial where a person must be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," a probation violation must only be proven at the hearing by a "preponderance of the evidence," meaning that it is "more likely than not" that the probation violation occurred.
Possible Outcomes Of A Probation Revocation Hearing
On a motion to revoke probation, and following a Probation Revocation Hearing, the court may choose to do one of the following things:
- Reinstate probation on the same terms and conditions
This is the best possible outcome. The court either determines that the probationer did not violate probation, or it determines that the probationer violated probation but agrees to reinstate probation on the same terms and without any new restrictions.
- Reinstate probation but impose new and additional terms of probation
The court may choose not to revoke probation and allow the probationer to stay on probation, but with stricter probation conditions. The stricter conditions may include community service and fines, or may be more serious and include a period of time in jail (though that period will be shorter than if probation is revoked).
- Revoke probation and sentence the probationer
Typically, when probation is revoked, the imposed sentence is jail or prison time. Often, the sentence was already determined, but suspended (not imposed at that time) when the court originally granted probation. If probation is revoked, the suspended sentence – or another sentence – may then be imposed.
Contact UsIf you or someone you care about is facing criminal investigation or criminal charges of any type, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555, or through the confidential and secure email form on the firm's website at www.VWattorneys.com.