Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence. Instead of incarceration, a judge may sentence you to probation. Probation allows you to carry out your sentence without having to spend any time behind bars.
What happens when you are sentenced to probation in California?
When a judge sentences you to probation, he or she will lay out certain terms and conditions that you must abide by at all times. As long as you do not violate the terms of your probation, you will avoid addition legal action. However, if you go against the judge's orders by failing to abide by any term of your probation, you will be charged with a probation violation.
Types of Probation Violations in California
A probation violation happens when someone violates a stipulation of their probation. That stipulation could be general or it could be a special stipulation imposed on the defendant by the judge at the time of sentencing. Common types of probation violations include:
- Failing to pay a fine
- Failing to appear in court
- Failing to abide by a court order
- Failing to meet with your probation officer
- Failing to perform community service
- Failing to submit to alcohol and drug screenings
- Actually failing a drug or alcohol test
- Committing another offense while on probation
- Associating with known criminals while on probation
Probation Violation Penalties
If you violate the terms and conditions of your probation, the resulting consequences can, and often are, severe. Although the penalties for a probation violation are left to the discretion of the judge, they are usually much more severe than the original penalties. Most likely, you will be sentenced to the penalties you would have faced if the judge did not impose probation as an alternative. Such penalties include incarceration, higher fines, more hours of community service, extended probation, and driver's license suspension.
If you are accused of a probation violation, it is essential to have a strong advocate who can credibly present evidence to the court explaining why the alleged violation occurred. Often times, the circumstances of the violation are beyond your control or merit a second chance. How your case is presented may depend on a number of factors, which an experienced California Criminal Defense Lawyer like Lynn Gorelick will have a good grasp on.