Probation is an extremely beneficial program that permits an individual to dispose of a criminal charge without a jail sentence. This can happen at the conclusion of a trial, but most often occurs as the result of plea negotiations. It is considered an alternative to detention and instead, an individual serves their sentence on a more restricted basis while still being able to carry out a normal life. That said, probation is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege may be revoked for certain violations.
A person who violates probation could find themselves paying large fines, a longer amount of probation, stricter rules for probation, or a sentence of prison for up to the amount of time originally carried by the charge that was resolved. There are a variety of ways to violate probation and it is imperative that you understand what they are before accepting a sentence of probation. To do so lightly, is to accept a penalty that could last longer than expected. Here are some examples of violation risks that must be avoided:
Traveling out of State
Traveling out of state is often permitted, but only with permission. Leaving the state without your probation officer’s permission can often result in a violation of your term of probation. Likewise, moving out of state requires probation’s approval before your probation could be transferred to another state. It is critical that you speak to your probation officer before making a decision as large as moving out of state.
Proof of Employment
A common requirement of probation is proof of employment. The alternative could be proving that you are pursuing a regimen of studies that is acceptable to the probation officer. Additionally, make sure to take proof of your employment to your probation officer for your meetings. Failure to do so may result in a violation of your probation and revocation of your probation leading you to a violation hearing before the judge and a possible prison sentence.
Arrests vs. Convictions
An arrest, or other negative interaction with law enforcement may be sufficient to cause a violation of your probation. It is not necessary to be convicted of the offense for a probation officer to issue a violation of your probation. Therefore, you could be violated and facing a significant prison sentence for an arrest that eventually results in a dismissal. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to avoid any situation that might lead to an arrest. Sometimes this may mean avoiding interactions with individuals who have a criminal record, who often attract the wrong kind of attention of police officers.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
While it may seem obvious that carrying illegal drugs would be violating probation, prescription drugs are often overlooked when taking care to avoid violating probation. If you regularly take prescribed drugs, always keep a valid prescription around. Especially if you are required to provide bodily samples for drug testing.
Failure to Check In
Probation officers are required to keep tabs on you. In turn, you are often expected to report to your probation officer at almost any given moment. Simply being unreachable can cause you to violate probation. Communication is absolutely vital – the more you know about your responsibilities, the easier probation will be.
Mistakes are easy to make when you’ve been given the chance to live fairly freely with a probation sentence. If you or someone you know has accidentally violated probation and would like to avoid serious charges, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. The experienced lawyers at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC can fight for you. Don’t let an uninformed mistake cost you big – contact us for your free case consultation today!