I am currently on probation and have been struggling to meet all of the requirements. I am concerned my probation officer is going to violate me. What can I do, and what will happen to me if I receive a violation?
Most individuals on probation struggle to comply with all the requirements the court imposes on them, which results in violations being a common occurrence. Violating probation can result in a revocation of probation and the court imposing a sentence up to the maximum possible sentence for the original charge. Violations can occur for many reasons. Some of the more common situations resulting in a violation are being arrested on new criminal charges, failing to complete court-ordered programs, missing appointments with a probation officer, positive drug screens, or failing to pay imposed costs or restitution.
Once a probation officer has decided to violate someone, they will complete an Affidavit of Violation and submit it to the court. The court will then review the affidavit and issue a warrant for arrest if it is determined reasonable grounds for a violation exist. Often defendants are not eligible for bond on a violation once they are arrested. The defendant will be arraigned, and an evidentiary hearing will be set to determine if a violation occurred and probation will be revoked.
The state will have the burden of proving the violation occurred at the evidentiary hearing. For a violation to be established, the state must show the violation was substantial and done deliberately and willfully by the defendant. A defendant must make reasonable efforts to comply with the terms of their probation and cannot be violated for any noncompliance that occurs for reasons outside of the defendant’s control. For example, if a defendant is violated for not paying costs or restitution, the defendant would not be violated if the failure to pay was due to the defendant not having the ability to pay despite making reasonable attempts to do so.
It should also be noted that while violation of probation proceedings are pending the time the defendant is serving on probation is “tolled.” This means that if the defendant’s probation end-date is reached after an Affidavit for Violation has been filed and an arrest warrant for the violation has been issued the defendant’s probation will not terminate but instead the court’s jurisdiction over the defendant will continue until the violation is resolved.
Due to the severity of consequences that can result from a revocation of probation, anyone who anticipates being violated or has been violated needs to aggressively have a plan to comply with the conditions of probation or they will most likely be sitting in jail until their hearing date.
If you are worried your probation will be violated, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.