Updated: Apr 22
How To Handle Probation Violation Charges In California
Suppose you are convicted of failing to comply with one or more points of your probation agreement. In that case, you may face the entire penalty that you escaped through probation, plus additional time for the probation violation. When it comes to meeting with a competent Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible in order to escape additional fines, you cannot afford to delay.
Instead of imprisoning a person, the court can grant probation, which allows them to return to their daily lives with certain restrictions. If an inmate violates the terms of their probation, they can face serious consequences. Even if it was a minor infraction, the person could be sent back to jail or prison to complete the remainder of their original term, as well as fines, extra community service, or other penalties.
Parole and Probation
The distinctions between probation and parole are sometimes misunderstood. Both impose restrictions and limitations on a person as a result of a criminal conviction. Conditional restrictions related to early release from prison are normally part of parole. Probation is a type of conditional behavior that is used to avoid going to jail. Depending on the criminal case, the terms of an individual's probation and parole differ greatly. Furthermore, the criminal judge has a lot of leeway in deciding what conditions to impose on the person awaiting probation or parole.
A court can impose one of several forms of probation, each with its own set of conditions. Formal probation entails meeting with a probation officer on specific days and times. You would not normally meet with a probation officer while you are on informal probation, which allows you to fulfill those conditions. Staying within a certain distance of a fixed spot, securing and retaining jobs, and preventing any more criminal charges are all possible criteria. Failure to comply with these conditions can result in probation violation charges.
Different probation requirements can apply depending on the severity of the crime. A person charged with a misdemeanor will almost certainly be placed on informal probation for up to three years. The court will usually require the individual to appear in court on a regular basis so that the judge can reevaluate the case. Judges are given a lot of leeways when it comes to assigning requirements under California Penal Code 1203, which gives them a lot of leeways. Fines, restraining orders, arrest warrants, drug or alcohol abstinence, community service, and participation in services related to the crime are some of the options.
Many that are convicted of a crime face up to 5 years of mandatory probation. Individuals will be assigned a probation officer to whom they will report on a monthly basis. The probation officer will make sure that their charge is following all of the rules, and they will be able to do so by verifying your jobs, performing drug tests, and conducting probationary searches of your personal belongings. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.
1. Informal Probation
Informal probation, also known as court probation or a conditional penalty, is most commonly used in misdemeanor cases. Almost anyone who is convicted of a first-time DUI has an informal probationary period. You are not supervised by a probation officer while on informal probation. In most cases, all you have to do is obey all laws and court orders, pay the fines and penalties, and meet any other court directives, such as attending a DUI school.
Many individuals on informal probation are unaware that they are already subject to the court's jurisdiction. You will be charged with both the new crime and probation violation if you are convicted and charged with a new offense while on informal probation.
2. Formal Probation
Almost anyone who is sentenced to probation for a felony is put on formal supervised probation. You will be put on formal probation if you are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. The court may place you on formal probation in other misdemeanor cases that the court considers severe, such as child abuse or neglect and some misdemeanor sex crimes.
You will be assigned a supervising probation officer with whom you can maintain daily contact while on formal probation. You could be in breach of probation if you do not meet with your probation officer or keep him or her up to date on your whereabouts. If this occurs, an arrest warrant will be given, and you will lose your liberty.
What will my probationary period entail?
Probation usually entails following all rules and upholding good behavior. If you're on probation for a driving-related violation, you won't be allowed to drive until you have a valid driver's license and insurance. If drugs or alcohol is a factor in your conviction, you may be ordered to stop drinking, avoid areas where alcohol is the main item for sale (no bars or liquor stores), and not use or possess any drugs unless approved by a doctor.
You could be subject to "search and seizure" as part of your probation. This term refers to the right of law enforcement or a probation officer to search you, your belongings, or your car at any time of day or night, as well as your home at an appropriate hour of the night. Once law enforcement knows you're on probation, they don't need a reason to search you.
Prior to the reform in the law, misdemeanor probation was usually three years long, while felony probation was usually three to five years long. Misdemeanors will receive a one-year sentence, while felonies will receive a two-year sentence under the new legislation.
The aim of AB 1950, as confirmed by the legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom recently, is to lower recidivism rates. Many claim that this does not help to minimize crime rates but rather encourages offenders to roam freely. This could not be more untrue. In reality, it is incredibly difficult to find work, accommodation, education, and even student loans while on probation. Allowing a person to live with the stigma of probation for many years decreases their chances of becoming productive citizens. Probation without a job, a home, or the opportunity to learn hurts not only the person on probation but also the families who depend on the probationer.
AB 1950 amends Penal Code 1203a to limit most misdemeanors to one year of probation. PC 1203a now reads as follows (emphasis added):
The courts of all counties, towns, and counties with authority to impose punishment in misdemeanor cases may refer cases, demand reports, and do and warrant anything necessary to carry out the purposes of Section 1203, insofar as that section applies to misdemeanors. For a period of not more than one year, the court may suspend the imposition or execution of the sentence and make and enforce probationary conditions.
Any crime that requires specific probation lengths under its terms is exempt from the one-year probation cap in subsection (a).
In terms of criminal charges, AB 1950 reduces most felony charges' probation to two years. PC 1203.1(a) is (partially) amended:
In the order granting probation, the court or judge may postpone the imposition or execution of the sentence and may direct that the suspension continues for a duration of not more than two years and on the terms and conditions that it determines. In the order granting probation and as a condition of probation, the court or judge may detain the defendant in a county jail for a period not exceeding the maximum time allowed by law in the case.
AB 1950 exceptions
When someone is accused of a violent crime, the statute does not apply in felony cases (commonly referred to as strike offenses). You might not count under the new law if you pleaded guilty to residential burglary, theft, or even threats. You also can not count if you have a burglary fee, depending on the charge, and the amount stolen was over $25,00.00.
"The one-year probation cap in subsection (a) shall not extend to any crime that requires specific probation lengths under its provisions," says 1203a(b) for misdemeanors.
The two-year probation period does not extend to the following felonies, according to 1203.1(m):
An offense specified in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5, as well as an offense with special probation length requirements. In the order granting probation, the court or judge may postpone the imposition or execution of the sentence for these offenses and may direct that the suspension continues for a duration not exceeding the maximum practicable term of the sentence and under conditions that it shall decide. All of subsection (other provisions apply).
If the gross value of the property taken exceeds $25,000, a criminal conviction for paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Sections 487, 503, and 532a. In the order granting probation, the court or judge may postpone the imposition or execution of the sentence for these offenses and may direct that the suspension continues for a duration not exceeding three years and under such terms and conditions as it shall decide—all of subsection (other provisions apply).
Hearings on Probation Violations
A judge can revoke your probation if you are accused of violating your probation due to a finding of probable cause. You are entitled to a hearing within a reasonable time if your probation is revoked.
If you are convicted of breaching criminal probation, you can be held in jail without bail, pending the outcome of your case. Unlike a criminal charge, the case will be heard by just a judge, not 12 jurors. At a breach of probation hearing, the prosecution has a lower presumption of evidence. The standard is a preponderance of the facts, rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, like you would get in a jury trial. Prosecutors may want to prosecute a breach of probation rather than a new charge because the burden is less onerous for them to fulfill.
Probation breaches are not taken lightly by the courts or lawyers, and you should not either. If you have been convicted of violating your probation or believe you will be accused of violating your probation, you can speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. While Google is useful for general information, you should not attempt to navigate California criminal law without the assistance of an experienced law firm.
What are the most common probationary offenses?
Depending on the nature of the offense for which someone has been sentenced, the exact terms of probation will differ from one person to the next. Probationary periods will, in most situations, contain the following:
Unlawful searches and seizures of your person, car, and home
Making amends for the crime that was committed
A prerequisite to being working or enrolled in education
a requirement to abstain from drinking or using drugs
Orders to avoid interaction with the perpetrated crime's victim(s)
Any breach of a probationer's conditions will almost always result in a probation violation hearing and the likelihood of probation being terminated in lieu of a jail or prison sentence.
Will I be required to appear before a probation officer?
Whether or not you must report to a probation officer during your probation period is largely determined by the offense for which you were sentenced. When you are convicted of a crime, you may not be required to report to a probation officer in most cases, but you will be required to appear in court for daily progress reports. If you are convicted of a crime, you will be required to report to a probation officer on a regular basis.
You may be charged with probation violation for a variety of reasons, including:
If you do not complete a recovery program or community service hours, you will be charged with a misdemeanor
You don't check in with the probation officer or show up for a progress meeting in court
You neglect to keep a safe distance from people who are armed, or you are caught with illegal drugs or weapons
You commit a new offense or are convicted while on probation, even though no charges are filed.
Violating Your Probation's Terms May Have Serious Consequences
If you've been convicted of breaching your probation, you should know that the severity of the penalty is determined by the extent of the offense and the severity of the criminal case. You may be given a second opportunity for minor infractions, but for more serious offenses, you may be re-arrested and given a court date for a formal trial. The prosecutor must prove that you violated the terms of your probation at this trial. You could face a number of penalties if you are found guilty, including:
Term of detention in a county jail or a prison