If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, under sentencing guidelines, the judge may give you probation. This can be a much better option than a jail or prison sentence. However, you could face harsh penalties if you violate the conditions of your probation.
What Probation Involves
If the judge sentences you to probation, you may serve it for a set period of time and with specific rules to follow. A probation officer will be assigned to your case and will supervise you to be certain that you abide by the conditions the judge set. Common orders that you may have to follow include:
- Reporting to your probation officer on a set schedule
- Not possessing a firearm
- Appearing at hearings scheduled by the court
- Not consuming controlled substances
- Not committing another crime
- Not leaving Virginia without court permission
- Not having any contact with specific groups or individuals
- Maintaining steady employment
- Paying fines and/or restitution to the victim
Common Probation Violations
There are many ways you could violate the terms of your probation. Here are some of the common violations that can get you in trouble:
- Not reporting to your probation officer
- Not going to a scheduled court hearing
- Failing to pay court fines or restitution to the victim
- Not keeping a job
- Possessing a gun or other weapon
- Being arrested for another crime
- Using a controlled substance
- Leaving the state without permission
- Having contact with prohibited groups or individuals
- Not completing another requirement of probation such as performing community service or completing a drug or alcohol counseling program
What Happens If You Violate the Terms of Your Probation?
Violating the conditions of your probation is a crime in Virginia. The consequences are at the discretion of your probation officer and judge. If this is your first offense or the violation is minor, the probation officer could just issue a warning to you.
However, you may face more serious consequences similar to those you experienced when you were initially arrested. Here is what you can expect:
- Arrest. If the probation officer believes the violation is serious enough, they may file an affidavit with the judge outlining how you did not follow the rules. The judge could issue a warrant for your arrest. If you are on probation for a felony offense, the police may be able to arrest you without a warrant being issued.
- Bond. You would be incarcerated until your first hearing where the judge would decide whether or not to allow you to post a bond. If the judge denies your request for a bond, you would remain in jail until the hearing on your probation violation.
- Hearing. You will need to attend a hearing where the prosecutor and your attorney will present arguments and the testimony of witnesses. It’s likely your probation officer will testify. The judge would decide whether you violated the terms of your probation and, if so, the consequences to impose.
Penalties You Face for Violating Probation
The judge will consider the seriousness of your probation violation, whether you have violated probation in the past, and other factors in deciding the punishments to impose if you are found to have committed a probation violation. Possible consequences include:
- You could have to serve a period of time in jail before resuming your probation.
- The period of your probation could be extended.
- You could have to follow additional rules such as performing community service or attending a drug or alcohol abuse course.
- Your probation could be revoked, and you could have to serve your entire original jail or prison sentence.
Let Us Help Defend Against Probation Violation Charges
Have you been charged with violating the conditions of your probation in Chesterfield County? If so, it is crucial that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to build your defense and to employ other strategies that can help you avoid the harsh penalties you face. To learn how I can assist you, call my Midlothian office, or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.