Probation violations put you on the wrong side of the law

Violating probation is a serious offense. If you violate probation, you could end up back in court in front of a judge who may determine if you need to serve another jail term or pay steep fines for your actions.

Probation violations happen when you break the terms and conditions of your probationary sentence. The kind of punishment that you'll face depends on the seriousness of the offense. For example, missing a curfew by a half-hour is significantly less serious than drunk driving when on probation for alcohol-related crimes.

What are some common ways people violate probation?

There are many ways that peopleĀ violate probation. Some common ways include:

  • Committing new crimes or offenses
  • Using, selling or possessing illegal drugs
  • Getting arrested for another offense
  • Failing to pay restitution or fines
  • Traveling without the permission of the probation officer you work with
  • Failing to report to a probation officer at the appropriate time or place

What happens if you violate probation?

If you violate probation, you may receive a warning or a request to appear in court. While there is no set requirement for what happens after your violation, your probation officer has a lot of discretion in this case, which is why it is important to be on good terms. Some probation officers may issue warnings for minor violations, while others may require you to appear in court.

If you are requested to appear in court, then it's likely that your probation officer will be the person to request some kind of penalty. In some cases, that penalty could include jail time.

What happens in court after you violate probation?

After you violate probation, a sentencing judge will listen to what happened and decide if you violated the terms of probation. It's smart to have your attorney work with you to defend or explain your actions, because the prosecutor does need to prove that you violated probation by a preponderance of evidence. Essentially, the likelihood has to be over 50% that you violated the terms of probation for a conviction. If the judge determines that there was a violation, he must then decide the appropriate sentence.

Your attorney will work to ultimately reduce the likelihood of facing harsh penalties. Sentencing occurs after the probation violation hearing. At that time, you may be ordered to serve the remaining sentence in prison, have new rules imposed on you or face other penalties at the judge's discretion.

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