While serving probation means avoiding jail time, you still need to be as careful as possible to avoid violating the terms of your probation. There is a wide range of ways that you could violate your probation, so understanding what is considered a violation can prevent you from doing so, especially on accident.
The six most common probation violations include the following:
- Missing your appointment with your probation officer – If you are on supervised probation, you must meet with your probation officer on a regular basis. All of the dates are scheduled by him/her, so missing an appointment is considered a probation violation.
- Missing a court hearing or court-ordered meeting – You may be required to attend further court hearings in order to review your progress. Furthermore, you may be ordered to attend community service, therapy, or fulfill other requirements ordered by the court. Failure to attend court hearings and other court-ordered meetings is a serious violation of your probation.
- Failing to pay a fine or restitution – When you leave with a bill for a fine or restitution, you are required to pay these fees on time. Failure to pay a court fine not only means additional fines but also possible jail time.
- Associating yourself with certain people and places – A special term of your probation could be to stay away from certain people, typically felons or other criminals. For instance, if you were a gang member, you could be prohibited from contacting gang members in general. The reason why is because the judge may feel that your association with criminals might be a setback in your rehabilitation.
- Losing your job – One of the terms of your probation could be to get a job or enroll in school. So, if you lose your job or get suspended/expelled from school, then this can affect your probation status.
- Committing another criminal offense – One of the most fundamental—and obvious—terms of your probation is that you cannot commit another crime while you are on probation. Even a minor traffic violation is serious enough to be considered as a probation violation.
If you are found to be in violation of probation, you will be required to attend a court hearing to figure out if you, in fact, violated the terms of your probation and face further penalties. The judge could either continue your probation under the same terms, modify your probation to include additional requirements, extend your probation, or revoke your probation and send you to jail or prison.
Fortunately, mistakenly violating your probation is a common defense to avoid severe penalties that could follow. There are also instances where a violation happens outside of the person’s control. So regardless of how you violated probation, it is critical to obtain legal assistance from an experienced attorney to fight against the violation and protect your rights.