Your eligibility for bail on a probation violation depends on the type of probation you’re under. Penal Code Section 1272(1) allows you to post bail if you’re on misdemeanor probation. The bail amount will be based on a bail schedule that has already been fixed by the county.
However, the presiding judge may adjust the bail amount depending on your circumstances. You could be released while waiting for the outcome of your hearing if your probation violation lawyer presents enough mitigating factors. Learn more about probation violations and when you may be able to get out on bail.
What Does Probation Entail?
Probation is one type of sentence that the state of California imposes in place of, or in addition to, jail time. Being placed on probation means that your prison sentence has been suspended. Your sentence will remain suspended as long as you fulfill several stipulations, which are otherwise known as probation terms.
Probation terms typically include provisions like:
- Paying fines
- Serving a shorter jail sentence
- Attending mandated classes (e.g., AA, DUI)
- Not violating any laws or registering with local authorities (e.g., as a drug offender, gang member)
However, failure to follow the terms will result in a violation of your probation. Based on the type of violation—if it’s technical or substantive—you could be in danger of being arrested and serving your original sentence. What’s more, if the violation is considered substantive, then you might be facing new criminal charges.
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What if You Violate Probation for a Felony?
Your situation is a bit more complicated if you’re on felony probation. According to Penal Code Section 1272(3), the court is not obligated to grant you bail. Your lawyer has to convince the court why you should be given bail and not be taken into custody while waiting for your probation violation hearing.
Your lawyer should present the court with enough mitigating factors as well as prove the integrity of your character. This means your criminal lawyer would have to:
- Show your ties to the community,
- Give reasons why you’re not a flight risk, or
- Prove that you have a stable job and are not a danger to society.
It should be pointed out that if you have only been accused of violating your Prop 36 probation, then you should be granted bail even if you’re on felony probation. However, this can change if the district attorney (DA) is able to prove that you’re a danger to the community or are a flight risk.
What Happens When You’re Accused of Violating Probation?
If you are accused of violating your probation, you can be arrested based on the information provided by the DA or your probation officer. An arrest warrant can be released by the court or you can be ordered to make an appearance on a specific date for a probation violation hearing.
A number of things will occur during your initial appearance in court:
- The prosecutor will show the court details about the claimed violations;
- The judge will ask where you stand on the allegations (Do you admit or deny it?);
- The presiding judge will decide whether you will be given bail until the date of the probation hearing;
- A date for the probation violation hearing will be scheduled;
- The judge will immediately cancel your probation. Basically, the terms of your probation are still in effect but the clock on your probation period will be on hold.
The initial court appearance is vital since key decisions have to be made. Your freedom will also be on the table, especially since you don’t have an automatic right to bail in these cases.
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What Can the Judge Do in a Probation Violation Case?
During a probation violation hearing, the judge will determine if a violation has occurred. In cases when probation has been violated, the judge has three options:
- Reinstate your probation using the same probation terms
- Amend probation terms and make them stricter
- Nullify your probation sentence and send you to prison
Probation violation hearings are distinct in the sense that they’re held in front of a judge only, and the standard of proof is much lower. The hearing procedure involves fewer protections and due process.
The prosecution can utilize hearsay evidence, and proof doesn’t need to be “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The prosecution only has to show that there was a “preponderance of the evidence.”
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What if You Didn’t Violate the Terms of Your Probation?
You have the right to defend yourself if you are accused of violating your probation. Your lawyer will first try to keep you out of jail when you’re accused of a probation violation. You can then admit or deny the accusations made against you and present evidence at your probation hearing.
Do You Need a Criminal Lawyer After a Probation Violation?
Yes. You need to be represented by a good criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles during your probation hearing. Bear in mind that the consequences of having been proven to have violated probation are quite severe. Just a simple accusation of probation violation has the potential to send you to jail.
If your probation is revoked, you can be faced with serving the entire sentence for the original offense. For instance, say you were facing five years imprisonment for a felony conviction but were given three years felony probation. If it was proven that you violated the terms of your probation after one year, you can still be made to serve your original sentence.
The time you served during your probation doesn’t give you any credit towards reducing your previous sentence. What’s more, the judge can put stricter conditions in place.
How Much Are Probation Fees in California?
Probation typically comes with hefty legal fees but several counties in California are discontinuing criminal justice fees. For example, Los Angeles County has eliminated collecting criminal fees, including:
- $155 monthly charge for probation supervision
- $769 for a pre-sentence report
- $50 for alcohol testing
The purpose of waiving these fees is to reduce the financial burden on former inmates. These legal fees have made it difficult for people to contribute to society while on probation. Your lawyer can help you determine what fees you may have to pay in your case.
Will the Terms of My Probation Change if It Has Been Violated?
If you are found to be in violation of your probation, the terms may not necessarily change. The judge who oversees your case has the authority to decide whether to modify the terms of your probation, keep them the same, or revoke your probation.
If you were in violation of your probation but you are in compliance by the time of your hearing, you have a better chance of keeping your terms the same.
Can a Probation Violation Be Dismissed in California?
Under certain circumstances, you may be able to get a probation violation dismissed. For example, if a probation violation accusation is filed too late, the statute of limitations may have expired. If you were in violation of probation but made corrections to comply, your violation may be resolved without disciplinary action.
Violating your probation terms in California can have serious and far-reaching consequences for you. So it’s never a good idea to take this issue lightly. If you have violated your probation or are accused of doing so, you need to get in touch with a good lawyer as soon as possible.
A reliable and experienced probation violation lawyer may offer to review your case for free. Your lawyer will assist you in taking the right steps to ensure that you receive a fair hearing and hopefully retain your probation sentence.