What is Probation Violation?
When a Washington defendant is serving probation, certain rules are set. The guidelines and rules must strictly be followed during the probationary period. Otherwise, the defendant can suffer consequences such as the revocation of the probation and jail time. Probation can be violated in various ways. The most common types of Probation Violation include:
- Failure to Pay – failure to pay the necessary fines and restitution to the victim can cause a probation violation to occur
- Failure to Comply – part of the probation requirements may include community service and rehabilitation. When the defendant fails to complete these programs, probation violation can occur
- Failure to Appear – most probation conditions require scheduled court appearances by the defendant. The defendant will provide a progress report. The failure to appear in court may result to probation violation
- Violation of Rules – part of the probation may include conditions wherein the defendant is prohibited from visiting certain people or going to certain locations. If the defendant fails to adhere to these conditions, probation violation can occur.
- Failure to Report – the probation may require the defendant to be accountable to a probation officer. The defendant needs to provide a report at scheduled times. Failure to meet this requirement can result to probation violation.
- Possession of Illegal Items – possessing illegal items such as weapons or drugs can cause a probation violation to occur
- Committing Crimes – keeping out of trouble is non-negotiable part of probation. If the defendant commits a new crime during his probation, probation violation occurs.
- Being Arrested – regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against the defendant, being arrested can cause probation violation to occur.
Consequences for probation violation can differ greatly depending on the offense. Among these include extension of probationary period, modification of probationary terms, revocation of probation, possible jail time, community service, reinstatement to probation with same or different terms, physical labor, rehabilitation, and treatment program.
A lot of people confuse probation with parole. It is not the same thing. Parole is the timeframe after an inmate has been released from a state prison. It allows him to reside in the community though he is still under supervision. Probation is different from Parole in the sense that it follows a country prison sentence while the parole follows a state prison sentence. Probation can be assigned even if jail time is not part of the defendant’s sentence.
Probation Violation: Am I Going Back to Jail?
One of the biggest concerns that probation violators face is whether or not they are going back to jail. It is important to take note that the sentencing for probation violation depends greatly on the type and severity of the offense committed.
What if there is a probation warrant? Will I be jailed?
Having an outstanding probation warrant usually means that the probation violator will be sent to jail. The probation officer can apply for an arrest warrant if he thinks that a violation has occurred. Once the judge has executed the warrant, it is unlikely for a probation officer to withdraw his request for the warrant. In this instance, the probation violation attorney will help greatly in negotiating the terms of going into custody. Depending on the unique circumstance of the case, the attorney can proceed to get the probation bond and arrange for the hearing at the earliest possible date.
Can probation violation be likened to a criminal charge? Is it better to plead not guilty?
Probation violation may be similar to a criminal charge in some aspects but it differs dramatically in important areas. Firstly, the alleged violator will need to appear before the same judge that sentenced him to probation (unless the judge is not available). Secondly, the probation violation is not judged by jury. The difference is quite dramatic because unlike in a jury where a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, only question in a probation violation hearing is whether or not the probation terms has been violated. Based on the evidence, the judge usually find it more probable than not that the defendant has committed the alleged violation.
If my probation violation is based on a new charge, will this affect my case?
When a probationer is arrested on new charges, matters are further complicated. The defendant will not only need to confront the new criminal charge, he should also deal with the alleged probation violation. In certain counties, the judge may handle both cases though they are considered separate. In this situation, the defendant has two simultaneous cases.
Bradley Johnson Attorneys can competently resolve both matters at the same hearing. By requesting the sentence to run concurrently, the decision for one case becomes the decision for both. However, if the defendant did not commit the new offense, we can support this position by developing evidences. Bradley Johnson Attorneys will not consider a plea if the alleged probation violation did not occur.
Probation and the Law: What is the Punishment for Probation Violation?
Probation is typically part of a criminal defendant’s sentence in Washington. When the probation is given, the defendant is allowed to become part of the community after jail time (if any) has been completed. The Washington probation laws can differ according to the type of probation given. There are several types of probation including formal probation (supervised) and informal probation (summary).
Formal probation makes it mandatory for a defendant to meet a probation officer on a consistent basis. Meanwhile, informal probation makes it mandatory for the probationer to meet certain terms of the sentence. There may be scheduled meetings with the probation officer though these may not always be necessary.
For all types of probation, the defendant’s sentence may include any or a combination of the counseling, physical labor, community service, drug testing, and jail time. The length of probation usually lasts three years though it can vary according to the defendant’s individual circumstance. In felony cases, for example, the probation can extend to five years.
When Probation Violation Occurs
Probation violation should be taken very seriously. The punishment this can be severe. However, in some cases, a probationer may be given a second chance. Typically, an arrest will follow immediately after a probation violation occurs. The defendant will be ordered to go to court to face hearing.
In a probation violation hearing, the prosecutor need only provide more than 50% of evidence to prove the defendant guilty. This is because unlike in a criminal trial where prosecutors need to prove “beyond reasonable doubt”, the process works differently here. There are several factors that both the prosecutor and the judge take into consideration including:
- Seriousness of the violation
- Nature of the violation
- History of previous violations
- New criminal activity
- Mitigating circumstances
- The probation officer’s view of the probation violation
The Attorney Difference
When facing a probation violation trial, a competent attorney can make the difference. The Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers at SQ Attorneys have handled hundreds of criminal cases including DUI, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, VUCSA, Assault, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Theft, Shoplifting, Bench Warrants, Probation Violations, Deferred Prosecutions and the like. If you are worried about your case, it is important to contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney that can look over all the details of your case.
If you or a loved one is cited or charged with a crime in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, Thurston County or one of the following cities or towns: Algona, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bonney Lake, Bothell, Burien, Des Moines, Duvall, Edmonds, Enumclaw, Everett, Federal Way, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Marysville, Medina, Mercer Island, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, North Bend, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Sea Tac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snohomish, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, and/or Woodinville, or any other city or town in Western Washington, call The Criminal Defense Team of SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.