Legal Actions You Can Take After Violating Your Probation or Parole

Probation Violation

When a court places you on probation or parole, you have certain obligations and requirements you must meet. If you fail to follow the orders of the court, you could face charges for probation violation.

These are serious charges that could lead to further incarceration or punishments. It is essential that you understand how to handle this situation to avoid serious repercussions. You want to look out for your best interests.

What Is Probation?

Probation involves allowing an individual convicted of a crime to avoid going to prison on the grounds that they will stick to specific guidelines and mandates enforced by a parole officer. The objective of probation is to rehabilitate an offender through an extended period of good behavior without having to put them in prison.

The important thing to note is that probation is not voluntary or like community service. People on probation must adhere to the conditions of their probation or face further legal action. This could include going to prison or having new charges filed against them.

What Is Parole?

Parole occurs when the parole board releases a convicted offender from his or her imposed sentence on the grounds that he or she will stick to specific conditions laid out by the court. Parolees face the risk of ending up back in prison if they violate the conditions of their release.

The difference between parole and probation is that parole occurs when you are already incarcerated whereas probation involves avoiding prison entirely.

How Do I Receive a Parole or Probation Violation?

The simple answer is by not fulfilling the conditions for your probation or parole. The court will set your conditions specifically for your case, and violating these conditions will put you in a poor position of legal standing. These violations may include the following:

  • Not showing up for scheduled court dates or legal proceedings
  • Failure to check in with your probation officer
  • Not compensating victims of your crime for any restitution
  • Failing a drug or alcohol test
  • Being in possession of illegal controlled substances 
  • Being in possession of a firearm
  • Committing another illegal offense
  • Traveling out of state without permission

Another situation that may lead to a violation is a search of your home, property or person by your probation officer or another law enforcement officer. Generally speaking, you must submit to random searches or drop-ins by your assigned probation or parole officer. If officers find anything illegal during their search, they may report it as a violation.

What Happens When I Receive a Parole or Probation Violation?

There are multiple things that can happen when you violate your probation. These depend on the frequency of your violations, how good of a standing you are in the eyes of the court and any leniency afforded by your probation officer.

Warning

When you violate your probation or parole, your probation/parole officer can report you to the court. If he or she does, you will have to appear in court before a judge. Your probation officer also can not report you and instead issue you a warning. These officers weigh many different factors when considering whether your violation constitutes further legal action. For example, they may look at how significant of a violation you perpetrated or whether this was your first violation.

Your probation or parole officer may also offer some leniency for accidents or emergencies that led to the violation. For example, if you miss a court date due to having car problems or a medical emergency, your probation or parole officer will likely sympathize with you and not press forward with further legal action. However, if you skip out on check-in with your probation or parole officer on purpose, specifically to engage in an activity that violates the conditions of your sentence, you shouldn’t expect any leniency.

Appearing In Court

If your probation officer forwards your violations to the state prosecutor, you will have to go to court to face the new charges. The prosecution will then lay out its case on how you violated your probation and parole, and then the judge will consider the evidence. From there, the judge will hand down a sentence.

You could get fines or imprisonment. A judge also may impose stricter constraints. This could be in the form of an ankle monitor to track your location or an increased in drug and alcohol screenings.

One of the possible outcomes is having your probation extended. For example, if you were able to avoid prison with a three-year probation sentence, a violation may extend your probation to six years.

What Is the Revocation Process Like?

There is one key difference between the revocation process and a normal criminal proceeding. In a normal criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In a revocation hearing, the prosecutor does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is much lower, which doesn’t work too well in your favor.

Do I Have Any Rights After a Parole or Probation Violation?

Yes, you still maintain your basic civil rights. You should receive some sort of written notification on which conditions of your probation or parole that you violated. You also have the right to be heard by an unbiased judge. For example, you shouldn’t have the same judge that sentenced you originally hear your probation violation.

You also have the right to counsel. Hiring an attorney could make all the difference in proving that you didn’t violate the conditions of your probation or parole. They could also help lessen or completely avoid any further actions if the court finds you guilty of a violation.

An attorney may help you avoid costly mistakes. Attorneys can help build your case through evidence and supporting witnesses. They can find witnesses to attest to your character, which may help the judge be more lenient on you.

Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer

Are you facing a court date due to a probation or parole violation? Make sure you have someone on your side.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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