What is Probation?
Our clients often ask, “What happens if I violate the terms of my probation?”
Individuals often receive probation for a period of one to five years in lieu of serving prison time. Probation supervision allows individuals the opportunity to remain in the community, maintain gainful employment and be a positive member of their families.
Probation may require you to pay fines, restitution, seek counseling for substance abuse or family problems. Additionally, probation officers arrange for and monitor community service work that courts often require. Also, probation officers enforce the orders of the court by requiring probationers to submit to conditions such as:
- drug screening,
- alcohol/drug abuse treatment,
- mental health counseling,
- community service,
- obtaining employment, and
- attending school or training.
Furthermore, officers perform field and home visits. Also, they require individuals to report to them on a regular basis in a controlled and secure environment. When an officer determines that an individual is non-compliant with his or her conditions, they are summoned back to court for a Violation of Probation hearing.
What Happens if you Violate Probation?
When there is a probation violation, your case worker will file a Violation of Probation (VOP) complaint with the court. This complaint will explain what happened. The court will require you to attend a hearing. If you fail to attend the hearing, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.
During the hearing, both the probation officer and yourself will be able to inform the judge about what happened. The judge assigned to the case determines whether you really violated the terms of your probation. If the court believes you did, or if you plead guilty, you will be sentenced. The judge has several options that he/she can impose on you:
- Your probation can proceed as is to with new conditions
- Extend the time period of probation
- Terminate the probation
- Resentence you for your original charges.
A resentencing may result in jail time, even if you originally took a plea deal for probation. A criminal defense attorney may represent you to argue on your behalf at the hearing and ensure that the judge hears your side of the story.
If you are accused of violating probation or on any other criminal charges, please contact the Williams Law Group to schedule a consultation today! Our attorneys practice throughout northern and central New Jersey.