Is Violation Of Probation A Felony Or Misdemeanor?

August 30, 2023 by Seppi Esfandi in California  Criminal Defense  
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Is Violation Of Probation A Felony Or Misdemeanor?

There are three main types of probation:

  • Misdemeanor probation for less severe offenses
  • Felony probation for more serious crimes, and
  • DUI probation for individuals convicted of driving under the influence

Each type of probation has its own set of conditions and requirements, with felony probation generally involving stricter supervision compared to misdemeanor probation.

For misdemeanor probation, the conditions must be fitting and reasonable for the offense. Some common conditions include paying fines, participating in therapy, completing community service, seeking employment, and being subject to restraining orders for domestic violence offenses. Violating any of these conditions can result in a misdemeanor probation violation.

For felony probation, common conditions include meeting with a probation officer regularly, paying restitution, participating in therapy or treatment programs, submitting to drug testing for drug crimes, performing community service or labor, agreeing to searches by law enforcement, and complying with stay-away orders for certain offenses. These conditions are imposed to ensure compliance and rehabilitation for felony offenders.

According to the law in California (Penal Code Section 1203.3), if you break the terms of your probation, the court has the power to cancel, alter, or revise its decision to suspend or carry out your punishment. After your probation revocation hearing ends, you will go to court for your punishment. The judge has the power to decide what will happen to you if you break the rules of your probation, and will consider many things, such as how severe your violation was, if you have broken the rules before, if you have a history of committing crimes in the past, and what the probation department suggests. If your probation gets canceled, generally, the judge will give you the original punishment. Sometimes, if your probation is taken away, the judge might give you the harshest punishment the law allows. Therefore, it is essential that you speak to one of our lawyers who have expertise in probation violation cases if you are being accused of breaking the rules of your probation.

Consequence of Probation Violation

California judges have a strict stance on probation violations, often handing out severe punishments to those convicted.

If the judge decides to suspend your initial sentence and opt for probation instead of jail time, violating the terms of probation could lead to the cancellation of probation and the imposition of the original jail or prison sentence. For instance, imagine you are convicted of grand theft, which carries a punishment of 16 months to 3 years in county jail. However, the judge suspends your 2-year jail sentence and offers you probation instead. Suppose you are subsequently discovered to have violated your probation and are brought back before the same judge for appropriate punishment. The judge can revoke your probation and enforce the two-year county jail sentence that was previously put on hold.

The judge has the authority to cancel probation and apply the highest permissible sentence prescribed by law. If you break the terms of your probation, the judge can withdraw your probation and impose the harshest legally permitted penalty. If, for instance, you were found guilty of a felony offense that could result in a sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years in county jail, the court might have opted for probation instead without imposing any jail term during your sentencing. If you break the terms of your probation, the court can legally put you in county jail for a maximum of three years.

Judge has the authority to prolong the duration of probation. If your probation is violated, the judge can cancel it and reintroduce the conditions for a more extended period.

Therapy Classes

The judge has the authority to require you to participate in counseling for anger management, substance abuse, and other related issues as an extra condition of your probation.

Stricter Probation Rules

The judge has the authority to impose fresh or extra conditions for your probation that would be most beneficial for the administration of justice.


The judge has the authority to direct you to engage in community service for a local charity organization or governmental body like CalTrans.

Drug Rehab

If you are discovered with illicit drugs or alcohol, the court may require you to participate in substance abuse or rehab programs as a condition of your probation.

What Is The Maximum Number Of Probation Violations Allowed?

Your initial breach of probation can have serious repercussions. Repeatedly violating probation can result in more severe penalties. Violating probation multiple times can result in complete revocation of probation and reinstatement of imprisonment. Understanding the terms of your probation and refraining from breaking them is pivotal.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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