Receiving probation after being convicted for any crime is usually considered welcome news. However, despite the best intentions, it’s incredibly easy to violate a term of your probation. Judges have incredibly broad discretion when it comes to probation violations, both in terms of finding you in violation as well as in the consequences of a violation. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, our Los Angeles probation violation attorney has extensive experience helping individuals through violation hearings with as little impact on their future as possible.What Can Lead to a Probation Violation?
There are a few different ways you can end up in front of a sentencing judge for a probation violation.
- You were convicted of another crime,
- You missed a court date,
- You failed to check in with your probation officer on schedule,
- You failed to pay restitution or court costs, or
- You violated any other condition of probation.
When a judge places you on probation, you are agreeing to abide by all of the terms outlined by the judge. Judges can impose a wide range of conditions when sentencing someone to probation, which often include mandatory drug testing, performing community service, seeking employment, paying restitution, and attending substance abuse treatment. For certain offenses, the judge may impose specific conditions, for example, ordering someone convicted of a domestic violence offense to complete anger management classes and attend a batterer’s intervention program.What Do Judges Consider During Probation Violation Hearings?
Typically, when someone appears before a judge for a violation of probation hearing, the judge will consider the following:
- The nature of the potential violation;
- Whether you have any prior probation violations;
- Your criminal history; and
- Recommendations of the probation officer and district attorney.
Additionally, most judges will also consider mitigating evidence that suggests neither you nor society will not benefit from sending you to jail. For example, if you are working, going to school, attending substance abuse treatment, or caring for an elderly or disabled loved one, it may persuade a judge to reinstate your probation or not find you in violation at all.
Notably, unlike in a criminal trial, a judge only needs to determine that there was probable cause that you violated probation to find you in violation.What Are the Consequences of Probation Violations?
The consequences of a probation violation vary widely and are unique to each case. To some extent, which sentencing judge you end up in front of will impact the outcome because all judges have different expectations, and some are more forgiving than others. However, in general, judges have a few choices when presented with evidence that you violated your probation.Find that You Were Not in Violation
The best possible outcome in a probation hearing is for the judge to find that you did not violate the terms of your probation. In this situation, your probationary sentence is unaffected by the potential violation, meaning it will still expire at the original termination date.Reinstate Your Probation
Just because a judge determines you violated your probation doesn’t mean they need to modify your sentence. If the judge decides to reinstate your probation, it will have no effect on your sentence.Modify the Terms of Probation
If the judge finds you in violation of your probation, they can revoke your probation and add new conditions to the new sentence. The judge can also extend the length of your probationary sentence.Revoke and Remand
The worst-case scenario is that the judge revokes your probation and remands you to custody. In this case, the judge still has a few choices. They can either impose your original sentence (if it was suspended in lieu of probation), or they can sentence you to the maximum term of imprisonment allowed by law (less credit for any time you’ve served).Are You Facing an Upcoming Probation Violation Hearing?
Probation violations can—and often do—result in additional jail time. However, there are ways of convincing the court to keep you out of jail. If you were recently arrested on a new case or notified by your probation officer that you are in violation of your probation, reach out to the Killedjian Law Corporation. We are immediately available to advocate for your immediate release and will aggressively defend you at the hearing. Attorney Melanie Killedjian has more than 20 years of experience helping keep her clients out of jail after alleged probation violations and looks forwards to seeing how she can help with your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Melanie Killedjian at the Killedjian Law Corporation, call (818) 986-0888 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.