Probation is an alternative penalty to incarceration, essentially allowing you to serve out either all or a portion of your sentence outside of jail, only with restrictions. Those who are on probation for either felony or misdemeanor charges are required to adhere to a number of terms and requirements, often which are customized based on the circumstances of the offense. Still, while this may place a huge amount of burden on your life, for many people this is an extremely preferable alternative to having to spend time in jail or prison.
However, what would happen if you were to violate the terms of your probation? Probation violations are not uncommon, but they can carry serious consequences. On this blog, we’ll explain what happens if you were to violate your probation and why it’s important to have an attorney on your side for the fight ahead of you.
If you’ve been found in violation of the terms of your probation, you will be arrested by your probation officer (of have a warrant put out for your arrest) and you will be required to attend a probation violation hearing, which can also sometimes be referred to as a probation revocation hearing. That latter name better describes what’s at stake: your probation could be revoked and you could be sent to serve out the remainder of your sentence behind bars.
At your probation hearing, the judge will ask you why you violated your probation and you’ll have the opportunity to defend or explain yourself. You will have several rights at one of these hearings, and it’s strongly advised you utilize them to the fullest possible extent.
These rights include:
- The right to representation from a Fresno criminal defense lawyer
- The right to call witnesses or subpoena them to come to testify on your behalf
- The right to present any circumstances that contribute to justifying your probation violation
- The right to testify on your own behalf
- The right to have a full disclosure of the evidence to be presented against you
Probation violation hearings are considerably different from the initial criminal trial that likely landed you on probation. The biggest difference: there is no jury. Your case will be heard before a judge only, and the judge will have the ultimate decision as to the outcome of your case. Likewise, whereas in criminal trials the standard of evidence is known as “beyond reasonable doubt,” the prosecution only needs to be able to show a “preponderance of evidence” that you violated your probation. To put it simple: they need only to show that you more likely than not violated your probation.
There are three possible outcomes to a probation hearing:
- The judge will reinstate your probation under the same terms
- The judge will reinstate your probation, but strengthen the terms to make them even more harsh and prevent further violations
- The judge will revoke your probation and you’ll be sent to jail
Because your freedom and ability to continue to live your life outside of jail or prison could be at stake based on your judge’s decision, it’s important that you seek assistance from an attorney before your hearing. An attorney can work with you to review the disclosed evidence, build a defense, and then fight to help you retain your privileges to the fullest possible extent.Get help for your probation hearing by contacting The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch today! Call us at (559) 484-2112 or send us a message online now.