Violating the terms of your probation can get you in serious hot water, legally speaking. Probation is usually given as an expression of leniency toward the person convicted of a crime, and sometimes probation replaces jail time as a punishment. However, if you violate the terms of that probation, serious jail time can result—including even more jail time than your initial sentence. This is because California gives judges plenty of wiggle room in determining how to deal with probation violations.
Here are some of the consequences you could be facing for violating your parole in California.
Lengthening of the Probationary Period
Let’s say that you have been put on probation for two years and have served one and a half of those years already. If you are caught in violation of the terms of that probationary arrangement, the judge can decide to reinstate your probation on the same terms. This means that you could end up facing another two years of probation under the same rules as opposed to the half a year you would have been facing if you had not violated your probation.
Revoking Probation & Imposing the Original Jail Sentence
Judges can decide to cancel your probation and instead give you the original jail sentence you were handed as a result of your initial conviction. For example, imagine that you were convicted of a crime and could have been given a one-year jail sentence as a result. Instead, the judge ordered a period of probation. If you violate that probation, the judge can then decide to send you to jail for that one-year period you received in court before being granted probation.
Revoking Probation & Imposing the MAXIMUM Jail Sentence
Keeping on the track of that previous example, let’s say that your initial one-year jail sentence was for a crime that has a maximum penalty of five years in jail. Upon learning of your probation violation, the judge can decide to give you the full five years of jail rather than the one year you faced prior to violating probation. This is a particularly extreme consequence and but also a very good reason to contact an experienced probation violation attorney when dealing with probation violations.
Adding New Aspects & Regulations To The Existing Probation
Finally, a judge can react to a probation violation by imposing new rules on you. For example, the judge may order you to undergo drug or alcohol rehabilitation, may order some sort of counseling, and may order you to perform some type of community service.
What are the differences between FORMAL and INFORMAL probation?
California classifies probation into both informal and formal categories.
An informal probation is usually reserved for lesser crimes and often ranges from one to three years. Crimes for which an informal probation may be used tend to be non-violent and not related to drug usage. If you have been given an informal probation, you can expect restrictions like community service, a requirement to stay out of trouble with the law, full payment of all court fees, and regular reports to the judge regarding your probation.
A formal probation is typically reserved for more serious crimes and is often called felony probation for that reason. This form of probation can have more serious restrictions, such as mandated therapy sessions, regular reports to a probation officer, searches of your person and property, drug testing, and more. Formal probation usually lasts between three and five years.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
Seeking experienced legal counsel is always a good idea—especially in circumstances like an alleged probation violation, which can cause serious negative consequences. If you have been accused of violating probation, you will have a probation revocation hearing in court. Much like a regular criminal case, your defense attorney can help present evidence to tell your side of the story, represent your interests to the court, and provide the judge with a solid argument in your favor.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, you need help. Contact the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at the Simmrin Law Group today for a FREE consultation by filling out the form on the right of this page or by calling their offices at 310-997-4688. With experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel, the consequences you face can be minimized or eradicated completely.