In the state of California as well as other states, individuals who are convicted of certain crimes may be placed on probation rather than serve time in jail or prison. In some cases, probation may be ordered in addition to jail or prison time. Essentially, probation is an obligation which spans over time, and involves a threat of future action when an individual does not adhere to the terms of the probation. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are available to help if you have been accused of violating probation.How Does Probation Work in California?
In Los Angeles County and throughout California, an individual may be sentenced to formal or informal (summary) probation. Generally speaking, probation periods last for anywhere from three to five years. An individual who is placed on informal probation will successfully complete probation by staying out of trouble with the law, and adhering to the specific terms of his or her sentence. However, those who are placed on formal probation will adhere to the court's orders, complete the requirements of probation, and report to a probation officer on a monthly basis.
Other requirements may apply while you are on probation, including performing community service, your participation in a counseling program, undergoing drug tests or completing physical labor. The requirements in your situation will depend on the circumstances of your case. Should you violate the terms of your probation (in other words, break any rule) you may be forced to serve jail or prison time, and probation may be revoked.
The terms of your probation may be violated any number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Committing an additional crime
- Failing to appear at court for progress report
- Possession of guns or firearms, or illegal drugs
- Failing to pay restitution
- Failing to meet with probation officer when expected
- Operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in your system
- Failing to complete community service, rehabilitation, or failing to enroll in court-ordered programs
- Associating with individuals known to be criminals
What penalty or penalties will you face if you violate the terms of your probation? This will vary depending on how your probation was violated, and the seriousness of the crime you were sentenced to probation on. In many cases, individuals are given a second chance when the violation is considered minor. However, should you commit a serious violation of your probation, the consequences will be more serious; in fact, you may be arrested or required to attend a hearing regarding formal probation violation. As in hearings involving a criminal offense, prosecutors must prove you violated probation through a preponderance of the evidence.
Ultimately, the most severe sanction you will face for a violation is to have probation revoked, which may lead to more serious penalties. When found guilty of violating probation, several punishments may be imposed by the court including:
- Physical labor (CalTrans)
- Perform additional community service
- Treatment program, counseling, or rehabilitation
- Additional probation terms
- Jail or prison sentence
- Probation time period extended
Violating probation is serious, and requires the legal guidance of a capable Los Angeles probation lawyer. If you or someone you know has been notified of an impending probation violation, the attorney you choose can make a substantial difference in the outcome. We urge you to contact The Justice Firm today at 310-914-2444.