What Happens if I Violate Probation?


The court may not be over once your case is resolved, especially if you are on probation. Probation comes in two varieties: supervised and unsupervised. In both situations, probation is set in 6-month increments, with a minimum amount of 6 months of probation and maximum amount of 36 months of probation. Supervised probation involves reporting to a probation officer once a month, while people on unsupervised probation do not report at all. Supervised probation also involves random drug screens, and your officer has the ability to conduct warrantless searches and seizures. That means that they can enter your home or vehicle without a warrant and search for weapons or contraband based solely on the fact that you are on probation.

Violations for probation occur when someone breaks the terms set for them by the court or by the department of probation. These violations include:

  • Being arrested for new charges that are Class A1, 1, 2 misdemeanors or Felonies
  • Absconding, which is fleeing supervision and failing to notify your officer of any address change
  • Missing probation appointments
  • Failing drug tests
  • Failure to pay money including court costs, supervision fees, or restitution
  • Failing to complete community service
  • Failing to complete programs ordered by the court such as substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment
  • Failure to keep gainful employment or complete education goals such as obtaining a GED

If you have been violated on your probation, you will be served with a copy of the violation that the probation officer will present to you to review and sign. You will also be arrested for the violation and have to make bond in order to get out unless a judge agrees to release you. The violation will be file stamped, signed by the officer, and it will include a numerical list of the ways in which your probation officer is alleging that you violated probation.

There are two kinds of violations for probation: technical and nontechnical. A technical violation means a minor violation that will not result in revocation of your probation. These types of violations include not paying fees, missed appointments, failed drug tests, not completing treatment, not finishing community service, or any violations related to the basic terms of your probation. The judge will expect you to show progress on completing these violations prior to your probation hearing date.

Normally, if you have complied with the conditions listed in your violation or made good faith efforts to do better on probation, you will be continued on probation in spite of technical violations. However, repeated technical violations will result in what is referred to as a “CRV,” which can be up to 90 days of a felony sentence or the entirety of any misdemeanor sentence which is suspended for the period of probation. That’s why it’s important to make good on your obligations to probation even after a violation, so that you can avoid a costly stay in jail that could make you lose your job and miss out on obligations.

Nontechnical violations, like committing new crimes greater than a class 3 misdemeanor while on probation or absconding from probation will result in revocation of probation. When someone is revoked from probation, it means that they must serve the entire suspended sentence that the judge imposed. That can mean months in prison, or in rare cases even years. Complicating things is that the standard of proof in a probation hearing and the evidentiary rules used are different than a criminal trial. If the state can prove these new crimes were committed by a preponderance of the evidence, that means that a judge can impose revocation even if the person on probation has yet to be convicted of the new charges.

These kind of nontechnical violations require a lot of time and work to handle effectively. Attorneys may need to spend a great deal of time and effort going through evidence in the new cases, looking into the potential of global offers, or holding bond hearings to release people with these kinds of violations. A lot is at stake, since getting revoked from probation is separate and apart from the new charge and the punishment that could be imposed for it. Attorneys will help you to try to avoid getting punished twice for your old charge and your new one.

There are lots of arguments that can be made to spare someone the indignity of a probation violation. There are technical arguments about filing and time limits as well as substantive arguments about how the violations occurred. A good attorney will try to work with your officer to give you more leeway to complete your goals on probation and resolve the violation by allowing your probation to be continued or even terminated without repercussion.

Have you been accused of violating your probation? You should speak with one of our experienced attorneys today! Call Jetton and Meredith at 704 931 5535 today.