How does felony probation work in California? This form of probation allows you to avoid some portion of a prison sentence. Individuals awarded felony probation can remain free, though they stay under the supervision of their probation officer.
You can learn more about this form of probation and how it could work in your case with our team at the Simmrin Law Group. Our criminal defense lawyers can work to reduce your criminal charges to serve probationary time in California instead of incarceration.
What Is Probation in California?
Probation acts as an alternative to prison time for some defendants in California’s court system. Individuals who receive probation from the court do not have to spend time incarcerated. Instead, they spend their sentence under supervision in their community.
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Can You Get Probation for a Felony in California?
While not everyone convicted of a felony in California qualifies for probation, many people can take advantage of this process. Judges have the responsibility of determining an individual’s eligibility.
What Makes Someone Eligible for Felony Probation?
Individuals may qualify for felony probation based on several different factors. Judges often look at:
- The severity of the felony offense
- Whether or not the accused used a weapon
- The defendant’s character and criminal history
- The monetary losses associated with the crime
- The amount of planning that went into the crime
- The attitude of the accused about probation
Judges make the choice to allow or disallow probation at the defendant’s sentencing hearing. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can argue on your behalf to help you secure felony probation inside of a full prison sentence.
What Makes Someone Ineligible for Felony Probation?
Some individuals cannot qualify for felony probation. The court refuses felony probation to individuals:
- With past prior convictions for violent or serious felonies
- Convicted of felonies while serving felony probation
- Accused of certain sex crimes
Additionally, the court usually does not grant felony probation to individuals who:
- Use a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime
- Cause a victim great bodily harm
- Hurt or kill someone during a drive-by-shooting
A criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case to determine if you may qualify or not.
What Are the Rules of Felony Probation in California?
Individuals on felony probation have to follow several requirements set forth by the court system. First, they remain under the supervision of their probation officer throughout the entire term of their probation, with this officer monitoring their actions.
Common rules associated with felony probation include requiring the defendant to:
- Meet regularly with their probation officer
- Pay restitution to the victim of the crime
- Submit to drug testing in some cases
- Perform community service
- Refrain from drinking alcohol
In some cases, individuals have to complete a treatment program or some form of counseling, including:
- Anger management counseling
- Sex offender counseling
- Domestic violence counseling
The defendant may have to submit to searches by police officers and pay court costs. Additionally, California expects individuals on probation to avoid the commission of any other criminal acts.
The above lists contain only examples of felony probation conditions. The judge in a given case may order different requirements as long as they’re reasonable and logical.
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Can You Violate Felony Probation in California?
Failing to obey any of the regulations issued by the judge for felony probation results in violating the orders of your probation. Violating your probation can have severe consequences for your life. If you violate your probation, the court may:
- Rescind your probation and send you to prison
- Increase the amount of time you spend on probation
- Add harsher rules to your probation
You can violate your probation if you break any law. However, you can also end up in trouble for violating any term of your probation, like missing a counseling appointment.
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Can You Move While on Probation in California?
In some cases, you may travel or change your residence while on felony probation in California. However, before you move, you must secure approval from the court. You must reach out to your probationary officer for permission to travel, as well.
Moving or traveling without securing the appropriate approvals can count as a probation violation. In this situation, you could receive a warning from the court or harsher regulations for your probation.
A judge can also revoke your probation if you move or travel without permission.
How Long Is Felony Probation in California?
The court does not always require individuals to stay on felony probation for the same amount of time. For example, you may have to remain on felony probation for about two years for non-violent felony convictions.
However, the court could increase your probationary period to three years for crimes including:
- False personation
- Grand theft
Other convictions can lead to felony probation for five years. Individuals have to adhere to all regulations handed down by the court for the entire period to avoid a probation violation.
Judges use a probation report generated by the county’s probation department to decide how long the probation should last. The report includes information from the officer who investigated the charges and the alleged victim of the crime.
How Can I Get Off Felony Probation Early in California?
Do you have to stay on felony probation for the entire ordered length of time in California? In some cases, the judge may terminate your probation early or convert it into misdemeanor probation, which provides you with less strict regulations.
Judges may terminate your probation ahead of schedule under Penal Code 1203.3. However, judges can only end your probation early if you’ve completed a minimum of 18 months of probation without violating any terms of your probation.
Additionally, a judge may only end your probation early if a lawyer demonstrates specific reasons to justify the termination. For example, a lawyer may show that you need to travel for your job, requiring an early end to your felony probation in California.
Can You Expunge Your Charges After Completing Felony Probation?
You have the option to seek an expungement of your charges in some cases in California. Generally, you may begin the process to request the expungement after completing the term of your probation, as long as you do not violate any of the terms of the probation.
Expungements remove many hardships from your life after a conviction. However, they do not erase all aspects of a conviction in every case. You can speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles about the benefits of an expungement today.
Who Pays for Supervision During Felony Probation?
Individuals on probation have to check in with a probation officer regularly. These individuals charge a fee that you have to pay on a monthly basis. Refusing to pay this fee can impact the state of your probation.
You should factor in the cost to pay for supervision during felony probation into your plans after a conviction. If you do not make your monthly payments, the judge could revoke your probation, sending you to prison.
Should You Agree to Felony Probation in California?
Felony probation allows you to stay out of jail after a conviction for a felony charge in California. Therefore, many people prefer probation to other penalties offered by the court system. However, the professionals recommend you keep several facts in mind when facing probation.
Remember that you can end up incarcerated if you break the regulations on your probation, even if you do not break the law. You also have to obtain permission before moving or traveling while on probation.
Additionally, while on felony probation:
- You may have to find and keep a job
- You may have to allow searches from law enforcement without a warrant
- You may have to limit your contact with individuals convicted of other crimes
Keeping these factors in mind can help you successfully get through your period on probation. Make sure that you do not assume you have standard regulations for your probation. The judge in your case can assign the rules they wish for your case.
You can go over the specific regulations associated with your probation with your criminal defense lawyer. Then, find out more by reaching out to us for assistance.
Speak to a Lawyer About Felony Probation in California
How does felony probation work in California? A judge can sentence you to probation instead of incarceration after some felony conviction. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer with the Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about this process.
Find out more by calling us or completing our online contact form.