VIOLATION OF PROBATION
Violation of Probation
The V.O.P. process typically starts when a judge signs a warrant for you arrest. Once you have been incarcerated on the warrant, you may be held in custody without bond, until your VOP case is resolved. Keep in mind, there is no statute of limitations for violating your probation.
Typically, there are two kinds of probation violations:
- Technical Violations: Technical violations typically include failing to report or attend specified appointments, failing to pay fines and costs, and testing positive for narcotics or other prohibited substances.
- New Law Violations: You were arrested on a new charge during the term of your probation.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, you do not have the right to a jury trial. Instead, you can request a probation revocation hearing in front of a judge. At this hearing, your guilt only has to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the prosecutor only has to prove it is more likely than not that you are in fact guilty of a violation. Further, at this hearing, you can be called as a witness to testify against yourself.
Here are a few key points to remember about probation revocation proceedings:
- No right to a jury trial;
- No statute of limitations;
- No right to bond while awaiting a hearing;
- Hearsay is permissible against you, with a few caveats;
- You can be forced to testify against yourself
In the unlikely event that you are found guilty of violating your probation, the judge can sentence you to the maximum term imposed by the underlying crime you were originally accused of. Of course, you will be given credit for any time already served on the charge. On the other hand, the judge has discretion to terminate, modify, or revoke your probation as he/she sees fit, under the circumstances. This means that the judge is given wide latitude to make a decision. Often the judge will take into consideration a plethora of factors, including but not limited to the seriousness of the original offense, the nature and egregiousness of the violation, your criminal history, any mitigating factors, and the recommendations of both the probation officer, and the state attorney.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal attorney. An attorney may be able to secure your release from custody while your VOP case is pending. Further, an attorney can often help you present mitigating factors to the court, and negotiate a lenient sentence.