When judges place individuals on probation over sentencing them to jail or prison time, it is certainly a benefit for them. However, violating the terms of probation can cause judges to issue jail or prison sentences. Learn how to avoid costly mistakes that can harm your future.
Know the Details
A probation officer (PO) is a supervisor that ensures their clients follow the rules. The officer protects the public and keeps probationers accountable for their actions. To avoid conflicts with POs, probationers must understand all the conditions of the agreement. The conditions may vary according to the charge and can change throughout the probation term.
To avoid violating probation agreements, individuals must follow the conditions of the agreement. Here are some typical conditions:
- Understand the timeframe of when restitution is due to the victims and how much to pay.
- Pay court costs, fines, or other expenses as ordered.
- Follow all laws, even traffic laws.
- Report any arrests to the probation officer within 48 hours.
- Make the officer aware of any residency changes.
- Do not own or possess a firearm.
- Do not associate with anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Complete any required drug, alcohol, or other rehabilitation programs as ordered.
- Perform community service as ordered.
- Follow any instructions given separately by the probation officer.
- Attend all scheduled meetings with the probation officer.
By following these basic guidelines, probationers will avoid having their probation revoked.
Understand the Responsibility
The court system does not allow people to make excuses for their probation violations. Everyone should stay informed and remain organized to avoid mistakes with their court dates, payment plans, and meetings. Probationers are responsible for knowing how to avoid more charges and should be sure to open all mail and read all communication from the PO and the courts to prevent any misunderstanding.
Realize the Risks
A violation could result in mild consequences, like an order to complete community service hours or the receipt of a written warning from the PO. These punishments may seem light and encourage the individual to take a chance, but remember that a PO can also perform searches, make arrests, and file a petition with the court for a new hearing.
Another possibility after a violation is a brief period of incarceration. The PO may request this if the only conflict was the lack of following through on the probation orders and no other laws were broken.
Know the Process
A violation does not mean an immediate revocation and jail sentence. The case first goes to court for a probation revocation hearing. If the violation is a new alleged crime, that case is separate from the hearing determining whether the individual violated probation. The court will decide on the punishment for the violation of probation if they believe the probationer did not follow through on the orders.
If the court decides to revoke probation, the offender may spend the rest of their probation time locked up or they may need to serve the whole sentence. Other punishments could include fines, more probation time, or the requirement to attend counseling.
Get Legal Assistance
No one should fight a probation violation alone. A lawyer experienced with this type of process should look over the case before the hearing date. The help they offer not only lowers the risk of mistakes that could damage a case but may even include a justifiable defense that can help the probationer to avoid more punishment.
Probation violations are serious. At The Lowry Law Firm, we can help you to avoid a loss of freedom. Contact us today to learn more.