After a court finds you guilty or you accept a plea bargain, one possible punishment is probation. While it’s less severe than jail, there are still strict requirements you must follow at all times. Remember that probation is a privilege, not a right. One slip up means a judge can have you serve the remainder of your sentence in prison.
If you’re facing a probation violation hearing, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer. They can represent you in court and fight for you to avoid jail time and stay on probation.
What Are Probation Violation Hearings?
A probation violation hearing is a legal proceeding in criminal court where a judge determines whether the defendant broke the terms and conditions of probation. Some common violations that may trigger a hearing are failure to:
- Pay fines
- Appear in court
- Attend counseling
- Attend DUI school
- Attend rehabilitation programs
- Submit a drug test
- Arrive on time to meetings with a probation officer
When you violate your probation terms, an officer may arrest you and bring you to a hearing. A judge may also issue a bench warrant for your arrest, which they usually give for violations such as failing to appear in court or obey a court order. Remember that bench warrants also do not expire until a judge recalls it.
Can Someone Bail Me Out of Jail While I Wait for a Hearing?
You may or may not be able to have someone bail you out of jail when waiting for a violation hearing. It depends on whether the judge issues a no-bail warrant, but most times, they will set a traditional bail amount. Other times, the judge may release you from jail without bail on the condition that you return for your court date.
California allows bail when the alleged violation is less serious, or the defendant is following every other term and condition of their probation. In almost all other cases, a judge will deny bail.
Are Violation Hearings Different from Criminal Hearings?
In criminal trials, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in probation violation hearings, they only have to show that the defendant violated the terms by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower burden of proof, and hearsay evidence is also permissible.
Just like in criminal hearings, defendants facing a probation violation hearing still have rights, such as the right to be represented by an attorney, call witnesses, and testify on their own behalf.
Defenses to Probation Violations
Criminal defense attorneys can use several strategies to prove you did not violate your probation. Some defenses your probation violation attorney can use, depending on the case, include:
- Lack of evidence
- Unreliable witnesses
Possible Penalties of Violating Your Probation
At the end of the hearing, a judge will decide whether you violated the terms. A judge may find you guilty of violating the terms and conditions and may:
- Reinstate your probationary sentence on the same terms and conditions, if you’ve kept a clean record on probation and it’s your first offense
- Modify the current terms and conditions to make them more restrictive
- Revoke probation and order you to serve the rest of your sentence in prison
Conversely, if the judge finds that the defendant did not violate the terms, they will remain on probation and the conditions will remain the same.
Skilled Probation Violation Attorney in California
If you’re facing a probation violation hearing in California, you need a strong advocate on your side. Remember that California state prosecutors are aggressive and will present strong evidence for the judge to revoke probation rights. In California, a trusted source of legal representation is Attorney Dod of Dod Law.
He will work with you one-on-one to learn more about the terms of your probation and the alleged violation. You can be confident that Attorney Dod will gather as much evidence as he can to prove you did not violate any conditions. By partnering with Dod Law, you’re taking steps to avoid jail time and remain on probation. Call (619) 814-5110 or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation.