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Penal Code 1203.2 PC – Rules for Probation Violations in California

By Spodek Law Group | July 9, 2021

A probation violation happens in California when a defendant is found guilty of a crime, placed on probation, and then violates a term or condition of that probation.  The statute that governs probation and probation infractions in criminal proceedings is Penal Code 1203.2 PC.

Specifically, 1203.2 PC says that “…the period of supervision of a person (1) released on probation under the care of a probation officer pursuant to this chapter, (2) released on conditional sentence or summary probation not under the care of a probation officer, (3) placed on mandatory supervision pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170, (4) subject to revocation of post-release community supervision pursuant to Section 3455 PC, or (5) subject to revocation of parole supervision pursuant to Section 3000.08…”

The regulations allow for the following: 

  • the probationer’s arrest for committing a crime or violating a probation condition, 
  • the probationer’s termination,
  • the imposition of jail time in lieu of probation, and/or 
  • the imposition of stricter probation terms.

A probation violation hearing determines all of the above. There are two key points to remember regarding these proceedings. The following are the differences between a probation violation hearing and a criminal trial: 

  1. the probationer’s rights at the hearing (which include many of the same rights as defendants in California criminal jury trials), and
  2. the differences between a probation violation hearing and a criminal trial (i.e., judge v. jury and burden of proof).

The California criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group will outline the following in this article:

1. What are the principle probationary regulations under 1203.2 PC?

2. What takes place during a probation hearing?

3. What are some normal conditions connected to California probation?

4. What are the principle probationary regulations under 1203.2 PC?

The probationary criteria outlined in PC 1203.2 can be classified into two categories. There are two types of regulations: 

  • rules involving a probationer’s arrest and probation termination, and 
  • rules involving the imposition of jail time or stricter probation restrictions.

Arrest and termination of probation

If there is reasonable cause to suspect a probationer committed an infraction or violated any term or condition of his probation, he might be arrested under Penal Code 1203.2a PC.

Note that, depending on the circumstances of a case, this arrest can be made with or without a warrant. A probation official from the probation department, a parole officer, or a police officer may also initiate the arrest.

The judge can do one of two things once a probationer is arrested and brought before the court. These options are either to release the probationer from custody or to revoke and terminate the probation of the party.

Imposition of a jail term or tougher probation conditions

If probation is revoked and terminated, and a probationer’s punishment has been suspended, the court may require the probationer to serve out the suspended sentence under Penal Code 1203.2c (i.e., place the probationer in jail or prison).

The court has the discretion to order in lieu of a sentence, that the probationer be remanded to:

Please keep in mind that, rather than having a probationer serve out a suspended sentence after probation is revoked, the court may reinstate probation — but with stricter probation conditions.

2. What takes place during a probation hearing?

When a probationer is taken before the court for either committing a new offense or violating a probation condition, a probation violation hearing is held.

Some of the following will be decided during the hearing: 

  • whether the probationer is released or remains in custody; 
  • whether the probationer’s probation is terminated or revoked, and if so, 
  • whether the probationer will serve a jail or prison sentence; and 
  • whether the probationer is placed back on probation with stricter conditions.

There are two key points to remember regarding these proceedings. 

  1. the probationer’s rights during the hearing; and 
  2. the difference between a probation violation hearing and a criminal trial.

The Rights of a Probationer

In a California probation violation hearing, defendants have many of the same rights as defendants in criminal jury trials in the state. These rights include: 

  • the right to be represented by a criminal defense attorney; 
  • the right to call witnesses and use the court’s subpoena power to compel witnesses to come to court and testify on the defendant’s behalf; 
  • the right to present any mitigating or extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the accused’s alleged probation violation; and 
  • the right for the defendant to testify in his or her own defense.

What is the distinction between a probation violation and a criminal trial?

A probation violation hearing and a criminal trial differ primarily in two ways.

The first is that the hearing is presided over by a judge, whereas the trial is presided over by a jury.

Second, unlike in a criminal trial, where the prosecutor must prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” at a probation revocation hearing, the prosecutor simply needs to show that the probationer broke probation by a “preponderance of the evidence.”

This means that the district attorney merely needs to show that the defendant is guilty “more likely than not.”

3. What are some normal conditions connected to California probation?

The probation restrictions that a probationer must adhere to are determined by the sort of probation he or she is on or by the court.  Misdemeanor (or summary) probation, felony (or formal) probation, and DUI probation are the three types of probation included in this statute.

Probation conditions for misdemeanors are rather common.

Probation conditions for misdemeanors must always be: 

  1. “fitting and proper to the goal that justice may be done,” and 
  2. reasonable and logically related to the offense.

Misdemeanor probation typically requires the defendant to: 

  • pay financial penalties and/or victim restitution, 
  • attend individual or group treatment, 
  • perform community service or Caltrans roadside work, 
  • pursue gainful employment, and 
  • be subject to a restraining order (for offenses involving California domestic violence crimes).

If you break any of these terms or restrictions, the court may find you guilty of a misdemeanor probation violation.

Conditions of criminal probation that are commonly encountered

Felony probation frequently involves the following requirements:

  • as many sessions with your probation officer as needed, usually once a month
  • restitution, 
  • individual or group therapy, 
  • completion of a treatment program, 
  • drug testing (such as urine drug tests) in cases of certain drug crimes in California, 
  • community service or community labor, 
  • agreement to submit to peace officer searches of your person or property with or without a warrant (referred to as “search cond”).

Conditions of DUI probation that are commonly encountered

When a person is sentenced to DUI probation in California, the law imposes specific limitations. Some of these are dependent on whether the offender has previously been convicted of a first-time DUI, a second DUI, a third DUI, or a subsequent “wet reckless” conviction.

However, most DUI probations include the following requirements: 

  • a defendant must not commit any additional offenses while on probation, 
  • agree to submit to a DUI breath test or a DUI blood test 
  • if arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, and refrain from driving with any measurable BAC (this is California’s “zero tolerance” law for people on probation).

For extra assistance from highly skilled defense attorneys

We urge you to contact us at Spodek Law Group for a free, confidential consultation if you or someone you know has been accused of violating probation and is now subject to Penal Code 1203.2 PC. We form attorney-client connections all around California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, San Francisco, and other cities. Our criminal defense attorneys represent clients facing a variety of criminal accusations.

Disclaimer: Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

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