Probation violation what will happen?

Recently on our forum a user asked, “I was arrested last year and charged with assault. Instead of serving time in jail I was given probation. I had been checking in regularly with my parole officer but due to an unforeseen medical issues I missed my check-in. I was wondering what will happen to me? Will I be sent to jail?”

What is Probation?

Probation allows individuals who have been convicted of a crime to remain free at home and in their community and avoid a jail or prison sentence.

Probation has several benefits for both the state and the accused. First, it allows the state to avoid clogging the already crowded prison or jail facilities with criminals who may not commit another criminal offense. It also allows the individual to serve their sentence outside of prison.

Probation is not, however, a get out of jail free card. In fact, in order to avoid jail or prison the accused will have to meet the terms of their probation. Terms for probation can vary but generally include some or all of the following:

-Refrain from using drugs or alcohol
-Report to a probation officer at specified times
-Maintain employment or attend school
-Remain in their current residence
-Submit to random drug or alcohol testing
-Refrain from committing any other type of criminal offenses
-Electronic monitoring
-Attend counseling or other treatment programs

Are all criminals given probation?

Not every accused criminal is given probation. In fact, the court will make that determination only after reviewing the case, reviewing the criminal history of the accused, determining if the accused injured other parties, and deciding whether the accused is likely to offend again.

Is probation the same as parole?

Probation and parole are not the same. In fact, if you have been given probation this means that you were able to avoid serving time in jail or prison. Those given parole, however, have already served time in jail or prison and have been allowed a conditional release from prison to serve the remaining portion of their sentence outside of a correctional facility.

Those who are “on parole,” however, are under similar requirements as those on probation. Both programs allow the accused and convicted to be supervised for a period of time and meet specific requirements like those outlined above.

What if I violate my probation?

Now, you asked what would happen if you violated the terms of your probation. Without more information about your case or the maximum penalties for your crime it’s hard to say for sure. It’s important to note, however, that the type of consequences will depend on the seriousness of the violation and whether this is the first time.

For example, if you missed one meeting and immediately called your probation officer and explained the reason for the missed appointment, you are likely to simply receive a warning. Other penalties which may be assessed include rehabilitation (i.e. for a drug violation) or counseling (i.e. if you have an ongoing mental health issue).  Officers can also require you to attend counseling, to pay fines to the court, or increase your probationary period.

More serious violations may result, however, if you have a history of violating probation or you have committed another crime. In that case, it’s likely you could be charged with another crime, have your probation revoked, and be forced to attend a probation violation hearing.

If after the hearing the judge concludes you have violated the terms of your probation you could be sent to jail to serve the maximum prison term for your underlying offense and any new offenses you have committed.

Bottom Line:

Penalties you might face for a probation violation will depend on the violation, your previous criminal history, and what your parole officer or the court decides.


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