On certain crimes, law offenders may have the option of probation. Generally, it is a sanction ordered by the court after an individual has been proven guilty of committing a crime. If the court grants an individual a probation, then he/she is allowed to go back to the public but under the condition that they will be monitored. Furthermore, the judge has the jurisdiction to decide whether the probation comes after the individual has served his/her shortened prison sentence or make it as their alternative punishment instead of going to jail. Others may argue that going to prison is actually a better option than probation due to a number of factors such as the fact that probation lasts longer than most jail sentences. Also, being consistently supervised by a probation officer feels like a little bit too much for some individuals. Unfortunately, with our natural desire for privacy and freedom, this has made many people violate their probationary protocols.
With that said, California Penal Code PC 1203.3 has given the court the authority to revoke or modify a person’s probation should they fail to meet the restrictions and conditions that were set by the court. Speaking of, the conditions will depend on the facts of the case. For example, the court will look at the following elements:
- The nature and degree of the crime;
- The result of the crime to the victim;
- The weapons used in the crime;
- The defendant’s criminal history;
- Whether the defendant is remorseful; and
- Whether the general public will be safe with the defendant around.
If the court decides that probation may be granted even after reviewing the aforementioned elements, the type of probation must still be addressed. It can include:
- Paying fines;
- Do community service;
- Seek counseling help;
- Restrictions on firearms; and
- Restrictions on alcohol and drug consumption.
Furthermore, the length of the probation also varies on the type of criminal offense. If it was a misdemeanor, then the maximum period will be 5 years. However, if it was a felony, then the maximum period will be at least 3 years but not more than 5 years.
Now, let’s say the judge ordered you to submit the results of your drug test within a certain period of time after granting you probation. However, the deadline has passed and you still have not submitted your drug test results. Consequently, this will result in the issuance of a bench warrant which will authorize a probation officer to search for you and physically bring you to court for a hearing. Does that mean that probation violations are exclusive only for breaking your probationary protocols? No. Committing a crime while under probation will still be considered a violation of your probation.
Punishments for Probation Violation
As stated earlier, the judge has the right to revoke or modify your probation once you violate a condition on your probation. Let us discuss that thoroughly in this section.
- Revoke: The judge may decide to suspend your probation and impose the original or the maximum sentence that should have been replaced by the probation. Let’s say you committed a handicap placard abuse, a crime that is punishable by a fine between $250 and $1,000 as well as a county jail sentence of up to 6 months. Instead of the jail sentence, the court grants you probation under the condition that you will be paying $250 as a fine. However, you refused to pay the fine and now the judge has decided to suspend your probation and give you the maximum penalties of $1,000 in fine and 6 months in jail.
- Extension: The judge also may decide to extend the term of your probation as punishment for violating your conditions.
- Add more conditions: If the judge deems appropriate, more conditions may be added on top of the pre-existing rules that the person under probation must follow. The judge may require the individual to undergo counseling, pay additional fines, or submit other requirements.
Get Legal Help From Criminal Defense Attorneys
Violation of probationary protocols are so common, almost a thousand cases of it are reported each year in California alone. If you happen to be one of those people, then here’s what you can do:
- If you missed a scheduled court date while on probation, contact your attorney as soon as possible to avoid having a bench warrant issued for you;
- If you got arrested, sued, or encountered a police officer, notify your probation officer immediately within 48 hours.
- If you failed to meet your probation officer on the scheduled consultation dates, inform them of your reasons and ask for another schedule.
When attending a court trial, it is best to have an attorney to represent you so they will be able to use the best and right defenses on your case.