The last thing you want is to end up back in jail, especially if your conviction resulted in probation instead of incarceration. Probation is preferable to a jail sentence because it allows you to serve your sentence at home with your family and to continue in your normal routine as long as you stay within the conditions of your probation order. Nonetheless, if you are dealing with accusations that you have violated the terms of your probation, you may worry that jail time is in your future after all.
Allegations of probation violation are nothing to take lightly. This offense can result in serious penalties and lifelong consequences. If your probation officer is taking you to face a judge with evidence that you violated your probation, you will want to have a strong legal defense to minimize the negative consequences.
Common probation violations
Every probation order contains certain terms you are bound to obey. You agree to these terms in exchange for your freedom, so it is important that you know and understand what you have agreed to. While every state is different and your circumstances are unique, your probation probably prohibits you from doing any of the following:
- Having contact with anyone associated with the crime of which the court convicted you or anyone with a criminal record
- Owning or carrying a weapon
- Using or possessing controlled or addictive substances, including marijuana and perhaps alcohol
- Leaving the state of North Carolina without first obtaining permission from your probation officer
- Breaking the law in any way, including minor infractions
- Missing scheduled appointments with your probation officer
Once your probation officer or the prosecutor learns that you may have violated your probation, they will decide whether the violation is serious. If it is a minor violation, you may get a warning. If it is significant, you may face a judge who will determine whether to revoke your probation. This could mean you will end up serving the remainder of your sentence in jail. It might also mean the court will impose additional penalties for the probation violation, such as fines or additional time in jail.
What can I expect at my hearing?
Similar to your criminal trial, you will go to court and face a judge. The prosecutor has the burden of proving that you violated probation seriously enough to deserve a penalty. You will have a chance to defend yourself by presenting witnesses to testify or other evidence to prove that you did not violate the conditions of your probation or that the violation was somehow justifiable.
You have a lot on the line when facing charges of probation violation. You would be wise to prepare carefully and make use of the most reliable legal resources available to you.