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What To Do After A Probation Violation: A Legal Guide

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You’ve probably met someone on probation without knowing it. In 2018, more than 3.5 million Americans were on probation. That makes up more than one percent of the country.

Probation allows people who are convicted of offenses to live their lives outside of prison. They can interact with family and friends and hold down a paid job.

But it doesn’t mean freedom. Every convicted person has to follow conditions, and there are serious consequences for probation violations. Yet many people on probation don’t know what those violations entail.

If you are preparing for probation, you need to know the basics of probation law and violations. Here is your quick guide.

The Basics of Probation Law

Probation allows a person who is convicted of a crime to avoid a prison sentence. It occurs most often for misdemeanors, but some felonies can lead to probation. A judge determines how long it lasts and what conditions must be met.

There are several general conditions that apply in nearly every case. The individual must not violate any laws. They must avoid people who have been convicted of felonies.

They must report to a probation supervisor on a regular basis. The supervisor can also visit them at home or work.

The individual must have a paying job with regular hours. They cannot move residences without permission from the court.

A judge may attach special conditions in addition to these general ones. A person may have to take defensive driving classes if convicted of reckless driving.

People convicted of sex crimes face different kinds of probation than other people. Specialized Probation Supervision involves officers who conduct visits to the person’s home. The officers monitor access to electronics and the person must attend sex offender treatment.

Types of Probation Violations

There are four kinds of probation violation charges. A technical violation occurs when an individual fails to follow a basic rule. They may skip a meeting with their probation supervisor or fail to pay a fine.

A special condition violation occurs when an individual fails to follow one of their special conditions. They may skip their defensive driving classes. Either of these violations can result in imprisonment.

A misdemeanor violation occurs when an individual commits a misdemeanor. For violating their probation, the person can go to jail. They are then tried for their misdemeanor, which can result in their own penalties.

A felony violation occurs when the person commits a felony. Like with a misdemeanor violation, they go to jail and face a trial for the felony.

It does not matter if a “not guilty” verdict is reached on the other criminal case. The authorities will use the charge to revoke probation and send a person to prison.

How to Avoid Probation Violations

The simplest way to avoid probation violation charges is to follow all conditions of your probation. Get all of your conditions in writing and put meetings and fine payments on your calendar.

Err on the side of caution. If you suspect someone has a criminal past, do not associate with them.

Keep a close relationship with your probation officer. Give them information about what job you are in and what your family life is like. If you have a work or family obligation to attend to, they may be able to waive a community service requirement for the moment.

You may be able to adjust a condition. You should provide a good reason for why you need to adjust the condition. You may need to perform overtime at work, which keeps you from performing community service, so you need extra time.

Adjusting a probation condition requires a court hearing. You should not assume that the modification will be granted. Follow the old one until a judge issues a formal document modifying the condition.

What to Do After A Probation Violation

If you are arrested for violating your probation, do not panic. Invoke your right to remain silent right away and contact an attorney.

A judge will not revoke your probation for a technical or special condition violation immediately. Your lawyer can petition for a waiver to release, in which you admit the violation and give up the right to a hearing. You will receive favorable treatment, usually keeping you from prison.

Your lawyer can also petition for a waiver of hearing. You admit the violation and receive a reduced punishment. Your probation officer decides what that punishment is, but you may avoid imprisonment.

If a waiver is not an option, you can receive a rule hearing. You can deny the violation, forcing the state to prove that you committed it. If the court rules in your favor, you will return to probation with no edits made.

You can admit to the violation in court. You can work out a sentence with the State of Georgia, which can be insignificant. You can receive a sentencing hearing with a judge who can keep your sentence down.

You can invoke your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during any hearing. You can present evidence and have others testify on your behalf.

Establishing an alibi to show that you could not have committed the felony is a good way to defend yourself. Work with your lawyer on finding evidence that will clear you.

Get Probation Violation Help

The law regulates probation violations. People on probation must follow conditions, living lawful lives and meeting with their probation officers.

Violating a condition can lead to imprisonment. Being charged with a misdemeanor or felony will result in the probation being revoked.

Follow your conditions to the letter and remain in touch with your probation officer. Get a lawyer experienced in probation law to help you if you get arrested. Pursue your options, including admitting to the violation for a reduced punishment.

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