Electronic Monitoring DeviceIf an individual commits a crime less serious in nature than other crimes, such as drug possession or petty theft, he or she often is put on probation instead of sentenced to incarceration.

Misdemeanor or felony probation is an alternative to jail or prison and allows the person the opportunity to prove he or she can obey the law outside of confinement.

When one is put on probation, a probation officer regularly checks in on the individual to be sure he or she is abiding by the terms of the probation period determined by the court. If the terms of the probation are violated, the court has the ability to revoke the probation and sentence the person to prison or jail for the original crime.

Terms of probation in California can include:

  • A set fine is paid
  • Group therapy is attended
  • Employment is maintained
  • Public works are performed
  • Drug and/or alcohol are not used
  • Searches are allowed to be conducted at home
  • Wearing an electronic monitoring device

Those who violate probation must attend a violation hearing, during which an exact course of action is determined.

Defining Penal Code 1203

The court suspends jail time and grants probation when the individual vows to commit no additional offenses and to obey the terms and conditions of the probation, for a period up to five years.

If one commits another crime during the probation period he or she violates probation. This is not the only way to violate probation, however. In accordance to Penal Code 1203, breaking any single term of probation could result in a jail or prison sentence, as it is considered a violation of probation.

No matter how many successful years one has been on probation, if he or she stops complying with its terms, a violation charge can be filed at any time during the probation period.

A probation violation charge has to be filed during a person’s probation period, not after it has ended. Penal Code 1203 gives the court the right to edit or completely revoke a person’s active probation. If it is discovered after the probation ended that terms were not followed exactly, a person can not be charged retroactively for the charge, however.

Does everyone who violates probation go to jail?

If probation has been violated in California, a judge chooses whether or not he or she would like to give the person another chance or impose a jail or prison sentence. The judge also, under penal code 1203, can choose to extend the probation period to allow the individual another opportunity to meet the terms.

The court often relies on information present by an experienced defense attorney when deciding how to address the situation. A skilled attorney will do his best to compel the judge to grant the person another chance to obey the probation conditions.

If facing a probation violation charge, it is crucial to contact an attorney to fight for a second chance at completing the probation instead of serving a jail or prison sentence.