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Criminal judges in San Diego can decide whether to place individuals convicted of crimes on probation, depending on the nature of their offense and their criminal history. Generally, probation is reserved for nonviolent offenders and serves to free up space in the county’s jails. Probation also provides for rehabilitation, giving defendants a chance to reenter society under supervision.
Many defendants find relief in being sentenced to probation rather than jail time; however, probation is hard work, and can sometimes feel like walking on eggshells. There are strict rules and guidelines you must follow when you’re on probation, and San Diego probation officers may find nearly any reason to accuse you of violating the terms of your probation. If you’re accused of a probation violation, it could land you in jail. Call Attorney Dod of Dod Law to learn how a criminal defense lawyer can help you remain compliant.
Types of Probation in San Diego
If you were convicted of a criminal offense, a judge might sentence you to informal or formal probation. Informal probation does not require you to check in with a probation officer. Instead, informal probation, sometimes called “summary probation,” puts trust in the defendant to stay out of trouble. You may violate summary probation in San Diego if you are arrested for a new offense. Informal probation is reserved for offenders convicted of misdemeanor offenses.
Formal probation is the more well-known of the two probation types. This type of probation requires defendants to meet with their probation officers monthly. Probation officers verify that defendants are following the terms of their probations. This may involve attending mandatory drug or DUI classes and staying drug-free.
Depending on your conviction, the court may require you to submit to regular drug tests as part of your probation terms. Probation agencies typically rely on urine tests above blood tests to detect drug use. Typically, people with a history of drug use must submit to testing more frequently than offenders without a drug history.
How Long Does Probation Usually Last in San Diego?
The judge can use his or her discretion to set a date for the expiration of your probation. On average, probation in San Diego lasts 3 to 5 years. The entire term may be divided into the two types of probation. So, you may serve several months to years under formal probation, followed by a period of informal probation, or vice-versa.
Examples of Probation Violations
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of potential probation violations. The most common include:
- Failure to appear at a meeting with your probation officer
- Failure to appear in court
- Failure to comply with a court order
- Committing a new crime while on probation
- Testing positive for drug use
- Refusing to take court-ordered drug tests
Any of the above violations may lead to an arrest warrant. An experienced criminal defense lawyer like Dod of Dod Law understands what it takes to challenge a probation violation accusation, and may be able to clear your warrant.
With an attorney representing you, it may be possible to have the court reinstate your original probation terms and conditions after your violation charge. Taking additional classes or conducting community service could help your lawyer make an argument on your behalf to persuade the court to reinstate your probation terms.
Probation Violation Hearings in San Diego
If you’re accused of violating probation in San Diego, you will be required to attend a probation violation hearing. A superior court judge will hear the merits of the violation to conclude whether there is evidence that you committed the violation. You should know that there is a lower standard of proof for showing guilt at a probation violation hearing and that hearsay evidence is admissible.
If the judge finds that you violated probation, he or she may take one of three actions:
- Reinstate the probation on the same terms and conditions
- Modify the probation with stricter terms and conditions
- Revoke the probation and place you in custody
If the judge revokes your probation, he or she can order you to serve up to the maximum sentence for the crime that put you on probation. You may ask for a probation modification at the hearing or ask for an evidentiary hearing to cross-examine witnesses testifying against you. Your criminal defense lawyer will advise you on the best course of action.
Contact a Probation Violation Attorney in San Diego for Help
Probation is often viewed as favorable to serving time in jail, but that doesn’t make it easy. When you need a competent attorney to fight accusations of a probation violation, contact attorney Dod of Dod Law. He has more than 17 years of experience protecting defendants with criminal charges. Attorney Dod has worked on more than 6,500 criminal cases in and near San Diego and has a 10.0 “Superb” Avvo rating. Call (619) 333-5134 for a free consultation today or complete our contact form.