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What Happens if Probation Rules Are Violated?

Probation is an alternative to a prison sentence, usually for misdemeanors or first-time offenses of a crime. It involves regulations, such as reporting to a probation officer, but it allows the person to remain a part of the community and work on rehabilitation.

If one of the regulations of the probation period is violated though, the person may face additional charges. What exactly happens when probation rules are violated?

What Counts as a Violation of Probation?

Violations will depend on what the terms of the probation were in the first place. Breaking any rule or committing another crime while on probation would be considered a violation. Some examples would be:

• Not reporting to your probation officer at the appointed time

• Not paying required fines

Using or selling drugs

• Refusal to attend therapy

• Leaving the state without prior permission

If you are on probation, it is very important to comply with all the rules set forth in your probation sentence and to avoid being charged or arrested for another crime.

What Happens if a Violation Occurs?

The probation officer decides what to do if probation rules are broken. They may either give the person a warning or request the violation to be examined in court. In general, less severe violations are more likely to get a warning before being taken to court. For example, skipping therapy one day would probably be viewed as less severe than getting a DUI while on probation, but the decision is still completely in the officer's hands. The probation officer can determine how to proceed regardless of what the violation was.

If it is taken to court, the judge will determine whether it is a violation or not, and what the punishment will be. Know that, if you are taken to court for probation violation, you have the following rights:

• You must receive written notice of the violation claim

• The judge must be neutral

• You have a right to an attorney

• You have a right to evidence and witnesses supporting you

• You have a right to refute evidence against you

Having an attorney experienced in the area is a good idea, as they can defend your case and help you understand all of your rights during probation.

What are the Penalties for Probation Violations?

If you are found guilty of a probation violation, you could face a large number of penalties. Some of these are:

• Community service

• Rehab or corrective behavior programs

• Fines

• Resetting the time on your probation sentence

• Jail time

Consequences of violating probation rules are harsh. If you find yourself charged with probation violation, a criminal defense attorney can help you through your situation and fight for your rights.