Probation violations in California ? When you are convicted of a crime or plead guilty to a criminal charge in California, you may be placed on probation instead of being sentenced to county jail or state prison. Needless to say, this is a much better alternative to being incarcerated. That said probation comes with a lot of conditions. In other words, if you are on probation, you must adhere to a strict set of rules and if you fail to do so, you may suffer serious consequences, which could include jail time.
Formal and Informal Probation
In California, you could be sentenced to formal or informal probation. The big difference between the two is in how the person who is on probation is supervised. Simply put, those who are placed on informal probation are not “formally supervised.” They don’t have to report to probation officers. But, they do need to report to the court when something has changed such as if they have been arrested, changed their address or are submitting evidence of completing certain probation requirements.
On the other hand, a probation officer supervises someone who is on formal probation. A person who placed on formal probation must meet with the officer weekly or monthly depending on the requirements. The frequency might be more for serious offenders. In a majority of misdemeanor or infraction cases, judges are likely to order informal probation. In more serious cases, you are more likely to receive formal probation.
Common Probation Violations In California
There are a number of ways in which you could violate your probation and land yourself in serious trouble. Some of the most common probation violations include:
- Failing to meet with your probation officer. You need to follow the schedule very strictly. If you miss an appointment, you are in violation of your probation and the officer could report this violation to the court.
- Not completing your probation requirements. If you are sentenced to community service, you must be diligent about getting those hours. If you have been convicted of a DUI, for example, you must show proof that you have completed court-ordered alcohol education programs.
- Failing to pay fines and penalties. If you fail to pay fines or restitution on the schedule set by the court, you may be in violation of your probation.
- Visiting people or places. One of the terms of probation could be to not visit people or places linked with your prior criminal activity. For example, if you were convicted of a gang-related crime, you may be prohibited from visiting gang members or communicating with them.
- Not getting a job. In some cases, you may be required under the conditions of your probation to get a job or enroll in training programs. If you fail to do so within a reasonable time, you may be in violation of your probation.
- Committing a crime. One of the most basic terms of probation is to not commit another crime when you are on probation. Even something as minor as a traffic violation such as speeding or reckless driving could be considered a probation.
What Are the Consequences?
If you are found to be in violation of your probation, you will need to attend a court hearing where a judge will determine if you have in fact violated your probation. Some of the consequences could include additional conditions, extension of the probationary period, jail sentence or revocation of probation leading to a jail or prison sentence.
If you have been found in violation of your probation, our knowledgeable Southern California criminal defense lawyers can help you come with strong defenses. The consequences of probation violations can be devastating. Call us to discuss your case at no cost.