Probation Violation

If one is on probation already, there are certain terms and conditions that must be complied with. These are called the conditions of probation. There are virtually hundreds of things that can be imposed upon a defendant as a condition of probation, depending upon the crime he or she was convicted of. One of the most common violations of probation is the arrest for a subsequent crime while on probation.

The district attorney’s office has the option of filing the new case for criminal prosecution and advising the court that imposed the probation of the violation, which in effect means the defendant has two problems. Or, the district attorney can elect not to file the new case, in the interest of judicial economy, but merely notify the court that imposed the probation of the violation, and that court would set a probation violation hearing. These hearings are very critical because one is not entitled to a jury trial, and the court does not use the reasonable doubt rule. If the court feels by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is in violation of probation, the defendant can be violated, and at that point, depending upon the seriousness of the violation, the judge has many options. If the violation is serious, the defendant can be immediately sentenced to a specified period of time in custody, which means the defendant can not only be sentenced to a year in the county jail if it is a felony, but he or she can also be sent to the state penitentiary for a specific period of years.

If it is not a serious violation, the defendant can be violated by the judge and sentenced up to one year in the county jail and/or be given additional conditions of probation and his or her probation can be extended. If the violation is merely technical, the judge has the option to violate the defendant’s probation and reinstate it without sanctions.