Possible Consequences of a Misdemeanor Probation Violation

October 09, 2023 by Madison Ferguson in California  Criminal Defense  
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Misdemeanor Probation Violation

Misdemeanor probation, also termed summary probation, is a form of alternative sentencing that is typically granted for misdemeanor offenses. When facing conviction for a misdemeanor, the presiding judge has the discretion to impose either probation or incarceration, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. During the probationary period, the court will directly supervise the individual rather than assigning a probation officer. The individual will be required to periodically report to court to demonstrate compliance with the terms and conditions of probation.

In California, misdemeanor probation typically lasts for a maximum of 12 months, although this may vary depending on the case. Violating probation is a separate offense that may result in additional criminal penalties. Given the complexity of California misdemeanor probation, it is sensible to pursue the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to navigate the legal process.

The terms and conditions of misdemeanor probation typically last for 36 months or three years but may be extended to 48 or 60 months in some cases. The term may be only 12 or 24 months in less severe cases. The main feature of summary probation is the imposition of certain conditions on the defendant, which must be agreed to in order to be placed on probation. The most important requirement is to obey all laws and demands of the court.

Other common conditions include completing community service hours, counseling or therapy, attending alcohol or drug abuse programs, paying fines or victim restitution, and seeking employment. The requirements are tailored to the particular defendant and offense conduct.

Possible Consequences of a Felony Probation Violation

If a probationer violates the terms and conditions of their misdemeanor probation, there are five potential outcomes that a judge may impose. These include:

  • Revoking probation and imposing the offender’s original sentence,
  • Modifying probation by altering the terms and conditions,
  • Revoking probation and setting the maximum sentence authorized by law,
  • Excusing the violation and allowing the probationer to continue as if nothing happened or
  • Ordering community service or substance abuse treatment program, particularly if the violation involved drugs or alcohol.

It is important to note that in cases where a judge orders a sentence term but suspends it in favor of probation, a probation violation may result in the judge imposing the original suspended jail term. Similarly, suppose a judge awards probation without suspending any jail time during sentencing. In that case, a probation violation may result in the judge revoking probation and imposing the maximum sentence allowed by law.

In California, if a probationer for a misdemeanor offense fulfills all probation conditions prior to the scheduled end date without any violations, judges have the discretion to terminate the probation term. However, judges may not grant early termination for probationers involved in cases of domestic abuse or driving under the influence.

It is noteworthy that many California employers do not inquire about misdemeanor convictions. In the event that an employer or prospective employer inquires about a misdemeanor probation, it is advisable to be truthful. Disclosing a misdemeanor conviction does not necessarily result in employment rejection. In fact, an employer may be more inclined to hire an individual who has been sentenced to probation rather than jail time.

Upon successful completion of misdemeanor probation, it is possible to have the conviction expunged. Expunged convictions are only accessible to law enforcement authorities and not employers.

Will A Probation Violation Result In A Warning?

It is possible that a probation violation may result in a warning. A judge or probation officer may issue a warning for the violation of probation, particularly if it is the first instance of a misdemeanor probation violation or if the offense is minor, such as not remembering to attend a meeting with the probation officer.

If a warning is given, it is customary for a record of it to be included in the probation file. Subsequent violations are likely to result in increased penalties.

It is advisable to refrain from making any statements to the police, up until you have had the chance to talk to a criminal defense attorney.

It is within your rights to politely assert your right to remain silent and to have legal representation present during questioning.

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