Do you need a lawyer for a probation violation?

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Dealing with a violation

Getting arrested and going to jail is a traumatic event, especially if it is your first time. Once you’re released on bond, that doesn’t mean your legal woes are over, especially if the judge places you on probation. Probation is defined as being released from custody, then being subjected to a supervised period of good behavior. Within that period, you need to be aware and conscious of any possibility of committing a probation violation. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself back in jail.

Depending on a person’s criminal history and the crime committed, the judge can sentence the accused to probation vs jail sentencing, or a combination of both. While probation and parole are similar, meaning, they are both an alternative to serving time behind bars; they are different.

Typically, probation transpires prior to or instead of serving time in jail or prison. The judge will give parole to a person who is released from prison. In either case, the person on probation or parole will have requirements to follow specific restrictions and under the supervision of a court-appointed person, usually meeting with a parole officer on a set schedule.

If that person were to have a probation violation, they were re-arrested and placed in jail again. It will be the court’s decision if it requires them to pay a fine, such as a probation bond before being released again. In most cases, it will extend their probation period it will add a longer period and more restrictions for them to follow.

For anyone that has never found themselves in this legal predicament, there are many questions. We have answered some of the most common questions here, intending to provide helpful information. 

What happens when you violate probation for the first time?

Probation violation is when the accused breaks the conditions and terms of your probation. There are the judge considers several factors when determining the punishment. Those factors include: The nature and seriousness of the probation violation

  • The accused’s previous record and prior violations
  • Any circumstances that may appeal to the severity of the probation violation

Sentencing will transpire immediately after the hearing that determines if the accuser is guilty of a probation violation. The penalties for probation violation may include the probation extended, the judge could implement additional terms to the probation, heavy fines, jail time, any of or a combination of these. 

What happens at a probation violation hearing?

The first thing that will is the judge will preliminarily consider if the probably should be revoked due to probable cause.  This will include reviewing the police report and/or testimony by the arresting police officer.

If the judge finds that there was probable cause support a probation violation, he/she may do one of the following:

  • Issue an arrest warrant
  • Issue a bench warrant
  • Issue a detention order

This is to be a temporary suspension with a formal hearing on probation revocation to follow. This does not mean the probationer is free from probation, they still to follow the restrictions originally set in place.

Next is the formal probation revocation hearing. While there is no right to a fast hearing, the courts must hold this hearing as soon as convenient. This is to ensure that the information and resources are available and fresh.

At this formal hearing, the judge will take into consideration the earlier probation terms and the probationer’s conduct in relation to the probation violation.  If the judge rules there was a probation violation, he or she uses the following considerations to determine what steps are next: 

  • Nature of the probation violation – such as did it violate any of the terms of probation
  • If the public was in any danger or harmed
  • Any previous probation violations
  • The attitude of the probationer
  • Previous criminal history of the probationer

The probation may be reinstated by the judge with the original conditions and terms, if he/she feels they are still appropriate. They may add more fines, order community service, or sentence the probationer to serve time.

How long do you have to go to jail for a probation violation?

If the judge gives a reinstatement of probation or a new probation sentence for the probation violation, the judge will credit all the time served of probation. If the probationer has any time in incarcerated, it gives credit for that time. There is no overlapping of a jail sentence and a probation sentence. 

Can a probation violation be dismissed?

A probation violation does not mean the judge will return the probationer immediately back to jail. There is a court process that they must follow, just as it was with the original arrest. The only difference is that the hearing is in a probation court instead of a criminal court.

The judge or the prosecutor has the ability during this process to dismiss any probation violation charges. The probationer’s lawyer can assist their client by requesting the probation violation charges be dismissed.

Lady Justice

Can you beat a probation violation?

Often, offenders cannot follow probation orders and will commit probation violation. In this situation, the best way to handle the matter is to own up to the errors of one’s ways. Judges listen to defendants give excuses daily and have become numb to those excuses. It is usually not possible to persuade a seasoned judge.  

By taking responsibility and being honest with the judge, this action will show a positive character, and that will make more impact on a judge. Besides admitting fault, the offender should illustrate that they are working to fix the problem and prove that they will not repeat the offense.

Probation is an alternative to jail time. One of the intended goals of probation is to monitor the behavior of the offender. Another intention is to provide community protection. If it is demonstrated by the offender that they are not able to stay within the probation terms, i.e. probation violation, the punishment is a jail sentencing. If you are dealing with probation violation in St. Petersburg, FL and need bail, dial 727-571-9999 for Al Estes Bail Bonds today!