Probation Violations

In California, criminal defendants who receive Probation as part of their sentence are allowed to remain as members of their community after serving their jail time (in some cases with probation there will be no jail time). In cases where defendants are placed on Summary Probation (informal / court probation), there is no need to report to a Probation Officer. When a person is on Summary Probation all they must to do is complete the specific terms of the probation sentence and stay out of trouble (no new criminal cases obey all laws). If a defendant is placed on Formal Probation, then he is ordered to meet with his or her assigned Probation Officer and do as requested. When a person is on Formal Probation, a defendant will report once a month to his or her Probation Officer.

During probation (informal or formal), the defendant may be expected to do certain things, such as attend counseling, perform community service, perform physical labor or work project, undergo drug screening and random testing, pay fines and fees, and pay restitution to victims of the offenses. Generally a persons probation term is three (3) years, but can be extended in some cases involving more serious felony offenses.

What is a probation violation?
In the State of California, if a criminal defendant breaks any of the rules imposed upon him or her during the probationary period, by either the Judge or Probation Officer, his or her probation can be revoked and a probation violation could be alleged. A probation violation may be alleged for a number of reasons, including:

  • Failure to pay a fine
  • Failure to pay restitution to the victim of your offense
  • Failure to enroll in or complete a rehabilitation program
  • Failure to complete community service ordered by the court
  • Failure to appear in court for probation progress report
  • Failure to report to your Probation Officer as required
  • Associating with known gang members, drug users, or other criminals
  • Possessing illegal weapons or drugs
  • Being arrested for a new offense (even if no new criminal charges are pending or filed

What are the penalties when probation is violated?
The violation of probation depends on how serious the violation is. If the probation is not serious, chances are the adult or juvenile defendant will be given a second chance and will be allowed to remain on probation under the same terms and conditions. If a more serious violation occurs, then there will likely be a violation of probation with some consequences.

If a probation violation occurs, the adult or juvenile defendant could be arrested or ordered to court, by means of official mail notification, for a probation violation hearing. At the probation violation hearing, the Prosecutor must prove the adult or juvenile defendant violated probation. If the defendant is found guilty of the probation violation, the court may impose one of several punishments including jail or prison sentences, probation term extensions, additional probation terms being imposed, additional time in custody, community service, and other severe consequences.

The outcome of your probation violation will vary, depending upon several factors considered by the Judge and Prosecutor. A skilled attorney can prepare you for the probation violation hearing, and make a difference in the final result.