Possible Consequences of a Felony Probation Violation

October 03, 2023 by Madison Ferguson in California  Criminal Defense  
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Felony Probation Violation

Felony probation is a penal measure applicable in California for specific individuals who have been convicted of a crime. Rather than serving their sentence in a correctional facility, they are released on the condition that they adhere to specific requirements to maintain their liberty. Typically, the probationer is not detained during the probationary period, and their freedom of movement within the jurisdiction is not restricted, but they are under supervision.

The terms of probation usually necessitate that the offender report to their probation officer regularly to ensure compliance with the conditions of probation. As long as the probationer abides by the terms of their probation, they will remain at liberty. However, if they breach the terms of their probation, they will be returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.

The fulfillment of probationary terms by the defendant shall exempt them from serving a custodial sentence for the felony offense. The standard probation conditions require the probationer to undertake one or more of the following obligations: periodic reporting to a designated probation officer, payment of a fine, court costs and restitution, submission to drug testing, completion of community service hours, and refraining from committing any further offenses during the probationary period.

Consequences of a Felony Probation Violation

If an individual on probation for a crime violates the terms and conditions of their probation, they will face the following consequences:

  1. Suppose an individual’s original sentence was suspended and probation was granted in lieu of jail time. In that case, a violation can lead to the revocation of probation and the imposition of the previously suspended jail or prison sentence. For instance, if an individual is found guilty of grand theft, which carries a punishment of 16 months, two or three years in county jail, and is sentenced to 2 years in county jail, but the sentence is suspended. Probation is granted instead. A violation of probation can lead to the revocation of probation and the imposition of the previously suspended 2-year county jail sentence. The presiding judge takes probation violation seriously and ensures that appropriate punishment is meted out.
  2. In the event of a probation violation, the presiding judge retains the power to rescind the probationary status and impose the maximum sentence permissible under the law. For instance, if an individual was found guilty of a felony that carries a potential sentence of sixteen months, two years, or three years in county jail, the court may have opted to grant probation without any accompanying jail time. Nevertheless, should the individual violate the terms of their probation, the court is authorized to impose a sentence of up to three years in county jail.
  3. In the event of a probation breach, the presiding judge holds the authority to revoke the probation and impose an extended term, thereby reinstating the original terms of the probation.

Therefore, it is advisable for those who have been granted probation for a crime to comply with the terms of their probation. Failure to do so may result in the revocation of probation and a return to prison.

Probation Violation Hearing in California

In California, it is important to understand the process of a probation violation hearing. If a violation is proven, the probation officer or police officer will arrest the individual and bring them to a hearing. The hearing begins with issuing a bench warrant, which is different from an arrest warrant and is given when an individual fails to obey court orders, appears for a court date, or violates probation. A bench warrant does not expire and stays in effect up until the judge recalls it. The possibility of being granted bail while awaiting a probation violation hearing depends on the type of probation. Special evidentiary rules are employed during the hearing, allowing hearsay evidence to be considered if it is reliable.

Probation protocol violations are frequent, with nearly a thousand cases reported annually in California alone. Despite the prevalence of such incidents, it is essential to note that probation violations can result in severe consequences.

As such, it is advisable to engage the services of a competent attorney to represent you and employ the most effective defense strategies in your case. Doing so can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome and minimize the potential negative impact of a probation violation on your life.

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