Following a criminal conviction, individuals are sometimes released back into the community with specific restrictions. This system – known as probation – may be served in lieu of, or in addition to, time behind bars. With probation comes an extensive list of potential restrictions, including regular meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, and even location monitoring via an electronic device. The particulars of your case, including past criminal history, will factor largely into the terms of your probation.
But What if I Violated these Terms?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the punishment for violating your probation terms will depend on the severity of that violation. For example, if you missed a meeting with your probation officer because you overslept, you might just get a slap on the wrist. However, if this is the third time you “overslept,” or if your violation was more serious, the punishment may be significantly harsher. Below are some potential consequences of violating your probation:
- You get off with a warning. If your violation was unintentional, or relatively minor, you may just get a warning from your probation officer. However, the warning will likely come with a notice that subsequent violations will subject you to harsher punishments. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’ve violated the terms of your probation.
- You get ordered to appear at a probation hearing. If your violation is more severe, or you’ve received multiple warnings in the past, you may find yourself at a probation hearing. At this hearing, a judge will determine whether you did, in fact, violate your probation. If a violation occurred, the judge may add more restrictions to your terms, extend the period of your probation, or outright revoke it.
- You get ordered to pay fines. You may have already paid fines, but a judge can order you to pay additional fines for violating your probation. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve violated your probation.
- You get sent to jail or prison. Depending on the severity of your violation, and the severity of the underlying offense, you may find yourself behind bars. Even worse, your jail sentence may be longer than it would have been for the original crime.
Common Conditions of Probation
Probation conditions can be few, or they can be extensive. Judges will often tailor the conditions to match the crime, as well as the individual’s history. Common conditions include:
- Rehabilitative terms, such as group therapy, random drug testing, and avoidance of certain people
- The payment of fines and court fees
- The payment of victim restitution
- The completion of community service
- The requirement to not commit another crime
- The requirement to obtain employment or education
- Compliance with court orders
- Regular visits with a probation officer
- The requirement to not leave the state
- The requirement to not possess any weapon
- Prohibition of all drugs and alcohol
Common Probation Violations
There are a million ways in which an individual can violate his or her probation. Some of the most common include:
- Failure to appear for a scheduled court hearing or appearance
- Failure to report for a scheduled meeting with your probation officer
- Failure to pay required fines or victim restitution
- Traveling across state lines without permission
- Visiting people or places you are prohibited from visiting
- Drug use, possession, or sale
- Committing another criminal offense
- Getting arrested