What happens if you violate probation for the first time?

man in questioning over probation violation

When going through probation

When somebody has been convicted, there are many things that can take place within the criminal justice system. One of those things is being placed on probation and within probation, there are several avenues that can take. There will be requirements made by the court and if the arrested person doesn’t follow those requirements, they could be found in probation violation.

So, what is probation exactly? It is a court ordered and mandated sanction given to a person who has been arrested and convicted for a crime. Instead of serving time behind bars, probation allows them to live at home, or a halfway house, and continue working or attending school. If they miss a day at school or work, they could consider it a probation violation.

Sometimes, the probation requirements include having a job or being enrolled in school if that person isn’t already. The person is also required to check in with their probation officer regularly, usually once a week. There can be some stipulations of its own, such as a daily check in. Once a week, they may require it to make in person appearance, or a phone call is sufficient.  Depending on the charge, it may require a drug test. Any of these requirements that are not met, the parole office can report the matter to the court as a probation violation.

What is considered a probation violation?

Each state has its own set of laws that define probation violation, with federal and state law governing these laws. General probation violation occurs when the convicted avoids, ignores, refuses, or in any way breaks the condition or terms of their probation during their designated probation period. The typical probation period is between twelve months to thirty-six months, but the original offense could cause the judge to set a longer probation period of several years.

Probation violation can happen in several ways that may include one probation violation, not paying fines, or any of the following:

  • No show at required court appearance
  • Not reporting to probation officer 
  • Not paying court ordered restitution
  • Present in certain places prohibited by probation
  • Associating with certain people
  • Out of state or out of country traveling
  • Possession, use, or selling of illegal drugs
  • Commit another crime or offense is a probation violation with new charges
  • Being arrested for criminal or non-criminal offense

For each of those probation violations, there are probation violation consequences

 which can be any of the following or other as the judge rules:

1. Court Appearance

There rules vary how probation violation is handled immediately and is determined by the probation officer’s discretion. They may issue a warning to the convicted or they may require the convicted to appear before the judge for a probation violation hearing. The probation officer will consider the violation’s severity and type any history of probation violations, warnings, or other considerations. Appearance in court could result in additional jail time, fines, penalties, or a combination of the three.

2. Determination of the Probation Violation

During the probation hearing, the judge will hear the convicted case in consideration of the violated conditions and terms of the probation. The prosecuting attorney will attempt to prove the probation was violated by providing evidence and/or witnesses. The judge will consider the nature of the violation and the seriousness, the convicted criminal history, and any prior probation violations. The judge will consider all circumstances whether they are aggregating or mitigating when making their decision.

3. The Sentencing

If they find the criminal guilty of probation violation, sentencing occurs shortly after this hearing. They may extend probation, it may include additional conditions and terms, possibly jail time will be required with probation being revoked. Consideration of a first time probation violation or is the criminal has a history will factor into the sentencing phase.

Do you automatically go to jail if you violate probation?

Not necessarily. Every probation violation does not result in a revocation of their probation or jail sentence automatically. The original crime, the convicted criminal history, the violation in question are all factors that will determine how the judge rules. As discussed earlier, there are several options the judge can take, along with the probation officer’s input, including additional and immediate jail time for probation violation no bail set.

How much jail time do you get for violating probation?

When found guilty of probation violation, a jail or prison sentence isn’t automatic, but it is a common punishment. Even if the convicted has completed most of their probation, they could still receive the maximum jail time if the judge sees fit.

A third degree felony in most states is punishable by five years prison time. If the criminal was originally sentenced to probation for three years and completed two before committing the probation violation, the judge can sentence them to prison for five years.

Can a probation violation be dismissed?

Sometimes, the convicted person’s attorney can negotiate with the state for a plea for an alleged probation violation in exchange for their client pleading guilty to the new offense.

handcuffs and arrest

Do you need a lawyer for probation violation?

It isn’t necessary, but we recommend it. Probation is a benefit that the judge gives an offender. However, if the convicted doesn’t uphold the terms set for the probation, the judge can impose the total sentence plus additional time for the probation violation. Having an experienced criminal lawyer is having a knowledgeable person on your side.

The recommendation is to stay out of trouble with the law. However, that isn’t always possible and those who find themselves arrested and given probation should be cautious in everything they do to make sure they do not violate their probation. Need bail for your probation violation in St. Petersburg, FL? Call 727-571-9999 today!