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Probation violations: 3 points to remember

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | Criminal defense

Navigating probation’s intricate requirements can be challenging for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives after legal troubles. Probation offers the chance to integrate back into society and avoid incarceration, but it does so under stringent rules. Violating these rules can result in severe consequences.

The probation officer’s role includes monitoring the probationer’s behavior and ensuring compliance with probation terms. When a violation is observed, it is within the officer’s discretion to decide how to handle it.

Probation officers do have some discretion

A probation officer may choose to give a warning for minor infringements or if it’s a first-time violation. The officer might consider the probationer’s past behavior, attitude toward the probation terms and other case-specific factors. Repeated violations will likely result in a formal probation violation hearing in front of a judge.

Probation violations are usually handled by bench trial

In a probation violation hearing, the matter is handled in what is known as a bench trial. Unlike typical criminal trials, a judge, not a jury, presides over these trials. The judge reviews all evidence and hears both sides before determining the outcome. Unlike a regular criminal case, a probation violation must be proven by only a preponderance of the evidence.

There are many potential outcomes following a probation violation

The consequences vary widely if a judge concludes that a probation violation occurred. These can range from extending the probation term, imposing additional probation conditions, mandating community service or requiring counseling or treatment. It’s also possible for probation to be revoked completely, which will likely result in incarceration.

Anyone who’s facing a probation violation should ensure they know their rights. Having a suitable defense strategy is crucial, so get started immediately.