North Carolina Probation Violations


One of the most common punishments after a criminal conviction in North Carolina is being placed on probation.  There are two kinds of probation in North Carolina; supervised and unsupervised. 

  1. Supervised probation is what most people think of when they hear ‘probation’.  There is a supervising officer that you are required to check in with, along with several other conditions that the court imposes (such as not being able to leave the state, having to preform random drug and alcohol screening test, etc.). 
  1. Unsupervised probation does not involve a supervising officer and often carries far less conditions to comply with. Usually the conditions are limited to monies owed and not committing any new crimes.  In short form, unsupervised probation simply requires not getting in trouble during the term of probation.

Regardless of the type of probation you have been sentenced to, the punishments for violating the terms of probation are the same.  In North Carolina there are two types of probation violations, technical and substantive, and while each carry with it a recommended range of punishments, the options for a judge in a probation violation setting has many more options than they would have in a criminal setting. 

Technical Violations

Technical violations are the less serious probation violations.  These often include failure to pay monies, failure to complete community service or some other court ordered activity, or a conviction of a class three misdemeanor.  It is important to note that only class three misdemeanor convictions are counted as technical violations. Infractions do not count as probation violations, and anything greater than class three misdemeanors are substantive violations. 

Substantive Violations

Substantive violations are the most serious type of probation violations.  There are two main substantive violations in North Carolina; absconding and having a new conviction.  First, as stated above, a new conviction must be of a class 2 misdemeanor or higher in order to be a substantive violation, otherwise it is a technical violation.  Absconding is a much more complex probation violation.  Absconding simply means willfully evading the probation supervision.  The most common form of absconding is seen when the probationer leaves the jurisdiction and does not have permission to do so from their probation officer or the court.  Leaving the state however, is not the only form of absconding.  The court can also find absconding if the probationer never checked into probation and never submitted themselves to supervision after their conviction. 

Probation Violation Punishments

Once a probation violation hearing is held and you are found to be in willful violation of your probation, the judge has several options to choose from. 

  1. The judge may terminate the probation unsuccessfully which ends your probation.  However, in the court’s records it will always show as terminated unsuccessfully and the court may choose to transition any money you owe to a civil judgment. 
  2. The court may choose to sentence you to a “quick-dip”; this is where the judge will require you to go spend a few days, usually 2 or 3 days, in jail. 
  3. The judge may sentence you to a CRV, or confinement in response to violation.  This is where the judge can order you to go to jail for much longer than a quick dip, but for a shorter period than the remaining active term on your case.  The judge may also sentence you to a terminal CRV which is where you will do the same time in jail as a normal CRV but your probation is terminated upon its completion.  It is important to know that CRV’s are not available in all cases. 
  4. The judge may choose to modify your sentence and add a split sentence.  This is also known as a ‘special condition of probation’ and is where the judge can order you go to jail for a short period of time and then continue your probation once released. 
  5. Finally, the judge may choose to revoke your probation entirely.  This is only available when the judge finds that you have committed a substantive violation (i.e. absconding or committing a new crime greater than a class 3 misdemeanor), or when you have already served 2 or more CRV’s.  When your probation is revoked, you must go to jail for the remaining active term that you were originally sentenced to.  You will still get to use any credit you have accrued pre-trial, as well as any time you spent in custody for a CRV or split sentence if you are revoked so it is important to tell your lawyer when you were in jail for this charge. 

Probation violation charges can carry serious consequences. At Jetton & Meredith, our lawyers are experienced criminal defense attorneys who will vigorously protect your rights. Contact our office to discuss your options and next steps.