Before looking at violations, one needs to understand probation and how it works. According to CriminalLawyer, probation is a sentencing option so that the defendant doesn’t go to jail. The judge will examine all of the factors in the case and decide on the best sentence for the defendant. Most of the time, the judge will suspend the original jail term for probation that will last a certain length of time. The defendant can then go home to be a member of the community once again. However, there are a few requirements that the defendant will need to abide by in order to stay out of jail. If the defendant doesn’t adhere to these requirements, then the probation officer can issue a violation.
The conditions of the probation sentence are catered to the defendant based on the criminal history and the nature of the crime that was committed according to FindLaw. At times, the defendant is placed on supervised probation. This means that there are intense requirements that need to be satisfied before being downgraded to a less restrictive level of probation. There will be monthly reports to the probation officer. The officer can also come to the home to ensure that the defendant isn’t committing any new crime and to ensure that the address is current and that the defendant hasn’t moved. If the defendant has a curfew, then the officer can stop by at any time to make sure the person is home after that designated time. Payments need to be made each month. These payments could cover restitution if the crime involved stealing money or property along with court costs and other fines. Drug treatment classes and counseling sessions can also be included in the terms of the probationary period. Defendants who do as the officer requests and follow the terms that the court imposes won’t see any issues and can sometimes be released from probation early.
There are times when someone will do something either intentionally or unintentionally to violate the terms of probation. Some people will do something to violate the terms just to go to jail because the jail sentence is shorter than the length of probation. When someone is on probation, the term is monitored by the state of federal government. Serious crimes are monitored by the federal government with serious consequences for violations. There are a few ways that probation can be violated. Sometimes, the officer will only give a warning about the actions that take place instead of submitting a violation, especially if the defendant has proved that the violation was not intentional. Most officers will go by a three strikes and you’re out rule where the defendant has three chances of mistakes and learning from those mistakes before the activation of jail time is recommended.
One of the ways to violate a probation sentence is to commit a new crime. This is usually an automatic violation that results in the judge enacting the original jail sentence along with any punishments for the new crime that was committed. Another way that people often violate probation is by not making visits each month to the probation officer. Not paying the required monthly fees is another common way that people will violate the terms of the probation. These two issues can sometimes be handled by the officer without going to court. The defendant would need proof that there was no way to get to the office on time or that there are circumstances preventing payments being made on time. Some officers will accept a minimal amount of money as long as an effort is being made. If the defendant can’t get to the office, then the officer can sometimes make arrangements to visit the home.
There will be hearings throughout the probation term. If the defendant doesn’t go to those hearings, then it will likely result in a violation. One might think that a job wouldn’t have anything to do with being on probation, but getting and keeping a job is often a requirement, especially when it comes to verifying locations of the defendant and making sure payments are made on a regular basis as the court can request that the company take the payment out of each check. There are often requirements that the defendant not associate with others who were involved with the crime or be in specific locations. Failing a drug test is a common way that probation violations occur as well.
When appearing in front of the judge, there are a few things that could happen in regards to the probation violation. One would be to add more time to the sentence. Another would be to send the defendant to jail. If the defendant is almost finished with probation, then the judge might terminate unsuccessfully.
An attorney can help with probation violations by offering defenses as to why the action took place. Common defenses include not working enough hours, family emergencies or confusion with dates and times. The attorney can recommend other options than going back to jail after the violation has occurred.