California probation can be complex, and each offender must live under a different set of terms and conditions. And regardless of whether you’re dealing with misdemeanor or felony probation, a probation violation is a serious offense. Probation violations can affect your standing with the court, have a negative impact on future court proceedings, and even strip you of your freedom.

If you are facing penalties for a probation violation, contact The Law Office of Peter Blair today. With years of experience defending clients throughout the San Diego area, Peter Blair will work with you to develop a sound defense strategy and fight for your freedom. Call (619) 357-4977 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.

Legal Definitions

California Penal Code Section 1203 defines probation as “the suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.” In other words, so long as you agree to the conditions set out by the judge and keep up the conditions of your probation, you can avoid the maximum penalty or jail time.

Misdemeanor probation, also known as summary probation or informal probation, is intended for juvenile or first-time offenders. The purpose of misdemeanor probation is to keep those convicted of small-time offenses out of prison and instead allow them to contribute to the community. (However, in certain cases, misdemeanor probation can also include a short jail sentence. Typically this jail sentence is the minimum allowed for the crime.) Summary probation places the offender under the court’s supervision rather than the probation department’s. In these cases, the offender is not required to report to a probation officer; rather, he or she will be required to appear in court after a period of time to report on their probation progress. Misdemeanor probation usually lasts between 1 and 3 years.

Unsurprisingly, the terms of felony probation are much more strict. Someone under felony probation, also known as “formal probation” will be required to report to a probation officer and comply with probation terms set out by the court. Similar to misdemeanor probation, felony probation is designed to minimize or avoid prison time, but certain circumstances could merit jail time in addition to probation. Felony probation usually lasts between 3 and 5 years.

Probation terms can include a wide range of requirements, including:

  • Paying restitution to the victim
  • Paying fines
  • Participation in drug or alcohol classes
  • Drug testing to prove the offender is abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol
  • Obtaining (and maintaining) gainful employment
  • Attending school
  • Performing community service or labor
  • Regular meetings with a probation officer (for felony probation)
  • Search conditions, in which the offender agrees to law enforcement searches conducted with or without a warrant
  • Agreement not to break any further laws

The terms of probation can also include provisions specific to the crime. After multiple DUI convictions, someone could be required to install an interlock ignition device as part of his probation. In addition, after a gang-related conviction, someone could be ordered not to associate with known gang members.

However, it is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of probation terms. Essentially, it boils down to California Penal Code Section 1203: “The court may impose and require any or all of the above-mentioned terms of imprisonment, fine, and conditions, and any other reasonable conditions, as it may determine are fitting and proper to the end that justice may be done.” Under this statute, the judge is allowed to use his or her judgment to determine the probation conditions that best suit the crime and best rectify the harm done to the community.

Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

The punishment for violating the terms of your probation depend on a number of factors.

First of all, the penalty will depend on how the judge decided the original case. If he or she pronounced judgment, that means a sentence has already been determined; upon a violation of probation, the judge can simply order that the sentence be carried out. If the judge did not set out a sentence for the original case, he or she can decide on a sentence, up to the maximum penalty, for the offense in question.

The penalty for a probation violation also depends on the nature of the violation. If the violation is as simple as failing to show up for a required treatment session, the penalty is less likely to be severe (unless the offender has had multiple incidents of failing to show up). However, if the violation is more severe, the punishment will fit the severity of the offense. For example, say an offender on probation for domestic violence is arrested for another violent incident. In this case, the judge is more likely to pursue the maximum sentence for the repeat offender.

After a probation violation, the judge can impose the original sentence or hand down additional penalties to the offender. Essentially, it all comes down to the circumstances: the circumstances of the original conviction, the conditions of the probation, and the circumstances of the probation violation. The best way to determine the applicable penalty for your case is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Contact the Law Office of Peter Blair

An experienced probation violation attorney is invaluable when it comes to defending yourself in court. Life happens, and many probation violations are simple misunderstandings. A criminal defense attorney can help the court understand the circumstances surrounding your probation violation and give you the best chance of success.

Timing is crucial when it comes to a criminal case. You must move quickly to protect your rights, and your best chance to avoid conviction or the maximum penalty is to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal convictions have the power to impact your employment prospects, eligibility for professional licenses, ability to obtain loans, and countless other aspects of your life. Don’t let these charges define you Peter Blair can help.

If you are facing a penalty for violation of probation, call the Law Office of Peter Blair at (619) 357-4977 or contact us online today. Schedule your initial consultation and let Peter Blair fight for you and your freedom.