Penalties for Probation Violations

Interviewer: What are some of the consequences of violating probation?  Are the penalties more severe for multiple violations?

Court Koehler: This is one of those areas where judges have a lot of discretion, and it depends a great deal on what the judge thinks about your situation.  Like I said a little bit earlier, for instance, if you have a DUI, they give you 180 day jail sentence, but almost no one would have to serve 180 days, especially if it’s just a first DUI and they haven’t been in a lot of trouble in the past.

A Probation Violation May Result in an Individual Serving Their Full Sentence in Jail

What happens is, if you violate the probation, then on paper, technically, you could end up doing 180 days in jail.  In reality, usually you have a little bit more leeway with the judge, and it depends on how badly you violate the probation and how many times you violated it in the past.

The penalties vary, such as with my client who had changed addresses and not told his probation officer, in front of another judge it might not be anything at all.  There might be no consequences, even though you technically violated the probation.

On the other hand, if you violate your probation by failing drug tests two or three times in a row, the judge is going to bring the hammer down and he’s going to impose the entire 180 day jail sentence.

It Is Always Advisable to Retain an Attorney If You Have Violated Probation

It really depends on what the circumstances are.  It’s also one of those areas where it’s important to have a good lawyer that has a good relationship with the prosecutors and the judge so that we can advocate for you and give the good side of the story to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and the judge isn’t going to come down hard on you.

If You Are Accused of a Crime While on Probation, Is That Considered a Violation?

Interviewer: Now what happens if someone’s accused of another crime while they’re on probation?

An Accusation Is Not a Violation of Probation but a Conviction Is a Violation

Court Koehler:  If you’re accused of another crime, it’s not necessarily a probation violation, but if you get convicted, then it is a probation violation.  Once you’re accused, that starts the process of the prosecutor attempting to convict you.

If you plead guilty to a lesser crime or if you end up going to trial and getting convicted, then that’s probably going to be a violation of your probation.  Sometimes you can hash out an agreement between the prosecutor and your attorney to where the probation violation would not entail additional jail time be served.  But technically it’s definitely going to be a violation of probation.  Any probation where you commit a crime during the probation is definitely a violation of probation.

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