Every crime committed against the government or any organization attracts punishment which comes in different forms, depending on the severity of the offense. The measure is designed to issue a correction to that erring individual and to avoid a reoccurrence of the ugly act. When a heavy crime is committed against the government, it is regarded as a felony, which comes with a reward known as punishment.
This article seeks to inform you about what to expect in a probation violation, the seven common probation violations, and their consequences, as well as how you can avoid jail time for a felony probation violation.
What is Felony Probation?
For the purpose of clarity, a felony can be regarded as a serious crime in criminal law. This category of crime often leads to probation and the consequence is that the convicted person would serve a sentence in the community under strict supervision. The punishment in this regard obviously lasts between three and five years. Felony probation is an alternative to prison.
When a person is convicted of a felony, judges would consider a number of factors if the said individual should be placed on probation instead of being confined to prison.
Some of these factors include:
- Whether the nature of the crime by the defendant was committed in an unlawful and wicked manner.
- Whether the defendant was violent
- The severity and circumstances of the felon compared with similar cases, and
- Whether the victim was vulnerable at the crime scene
While the defendant’s sentencing hearing is going on, the defendant has the floor to argue why he or she should be laid open to probation, and to be subjected to felony probation rather than being confined in prison. It is important to note that the prosecutor has the right to argue the reverse side of the claim; that is, why prison would be a proper punishment than felony probation. In the end, the judge gives the final judgment.
Possible Jail Time for Felony Probation Violation
There are two basic results regarding jail time in case an individual goes against the terms of felony probation. Here are they:
- If the felon was not suspended for violating his probation, then he or she gets a long period of jail time for the original offense they committed.
- The individual can be incarcerated in a prison that was initially suspended before probation was pronounced.
For example, if an accused felon is convicted of a certain crime in a felony clause, the individual can be sentenced to prison between one year and three years, depending on the severity of the crime.
Perhaps, at the time of sentencing, the judge pronounces two- year jail time against the defendant, he may suspend the jail term and rather issue formal probation on the felon. In case the party later goes against probation, the judge has the power to pronounce the two-year jail term that was earlier suspended.
Furthermore, it is appropriate to state that judges have the prerogative to look into a number of reasons before they can determine if a person should be incarcerated in prison or be on probation.
These reasons include:
- Whether the accused was vulnerable at the time of the offense,
- Whether the crime was carried out in an incriminating way,
- Whether the accused was violent or,
- The seriousness of the offense as compared with other crimes.
During the defendant’s sentencing hearing, the defendant can claim why he or she can be subjected to probation rather than being jailed. It is worthy to note that the prosecuting officer has the opportunity to claim the reverse; stating why being confined to prison would be a better punishment than probation against felony. At this point, the judge gives the final verdict.
How Probation is Violated
Laws that govern probation violation varies among different countries of the world. Normally, a probation violation happens when you refuse, ignore, or avoid the stated conditions of your probation at a certain time during your probationary period. Probation violation normally lasts between one and three years but could last for more years, depending on the weight of the offense.
What to Expect in a Probation Violation
If you were guilty of a crime and given approbation, the judge who handled your previous case probably explained what your probationary period would be. That judge would have placed some rules that you need to follow, like staying away from drugs, meeting with a probation officer on a regular basis, and obeying all laws.
It is important to state that a probation violation occurs when you go against the terms and conditions of your probation, and the punishment depends on factors like; whether you have been convicted of any violations in the past, the nature of the violation, and whether there are other conditions that can reduce or increase the severity of the situation. Therefore, a probation violation sentence can result in punishments like jail time, heavy fines, or extended probation.
Probation is never easy, as it comes with tough rules that you are expected to follow. If you are found guilty of violating the attached conditions of your probation, you will possibly suffer tough punishment.
Seven Common Violations of Probation
There are several ways in which you can violate your probation, and having a clear understanding of what violation means can help you comply with the conditions of your sentence. Here are common probation violations:
1). Missing a Court Hearing
In this case, you might be required by the judge to honor subsequent hearings in court after a particular period of time to review the level of your progress. If in any way you did not attend the court hearing, then you must have severely violated your probation.
2). Not Completing Community Service
As a felon, if you are sentenced to community service, it is expected that you complete a measured hour of service within a certain period of time. If you fail to do this, it means you have violated your probation.
3). Missing Appointment with a Probation Official
If your probation period is being supervised, then it is expected that you meet with your assigned probation officer on a scheduled time set by him. In the event that you miss one of your appointments, it will be interpreted that you have violated your probation, and your assigned probation officer has the right to report the matter to the court.
4). Committing Another Crime
One obvious rule about probation is that you cannot commit another offense. The slightest offense you commit elsewhere will definitely mean that you have violated your probation.
5). Defaulting in Paying Fines
Depending on the severity of the crime you committed, you might be required by the judge to pay fines to the victim. Failure to pay the fines as at the time directed by the judge, you might face fresh charges of violating your probation.
6). Not Being Employed
Perhaps you did not have a job when convicted, you may be required to get a job or register in a school as a condition of probation. If you disobey this order, then you are violating your probation.
7). Visiting Some Places or Individuals
As part of your felony probation, you might be restricted from visiting certain places or people that are connected with criminal activities. For instance, if you belong to a gang of criminals, you might be barred from associating with that gang. So, you would have to stay away from those incriminating places or people.
Possible Consequences for Violating Probation
Judges have the prerogative to decide whether to impose jail sentences or other forms of punishment for violating probations. Some of the simple punishments for going against your probation include carrying out social works, enrolling for a rehabilitation program, or other activities that are designed at regulating the behavior. The felon can also be subjected to serious punishment like paying of huge monetary fines to the victim or be sentenced to a short period in jail. On the other hand, the judge might decide to revoke your probation completely and order you to serve the other part of your sentence terms in prison.
The nature of your probation violation can attract the following consequence:
If your probation violation states that you have been involved in hard drugs and alcohol, your probation officer has the right to order you to rehab. If you disobey this order, then you will be in jail.
If you disobey rules guiding your probation, you may be required to pay more fines. This can be a fine that you will compulsorily pay to the victim of the initial crime you committed, or the offense that made you violate probation.in some cases also, you may be ordered to pay the fine directly to the court.
Arranging for a counseling session is a beautiful option that a judge can make available for a convicted felon. This can arise in a case where the individual is going through an emotional or mental problem, which propels the probation violation.
If a felon is violating probation for the first time, the probation officer may just issue a warning. This is so because the probation officer may want to avoid piling up a heavy case file for the judge if the violation is not severe. In this case, the officer may give you a warning about the impending penalties you may suffer if you keep going against the rules of your probation. On the other hand, if you obey and avoid getting into further trouble after the warning, then you will not have any problem.
e). Increased Probationary Period
In some cases, a probation officer may have the conviction that the convicted felon is not ready to reunite with society without supervision. With this, the probation violation may be extended for a longer period of time wherein the felon will be on probation.
f). Probation Violation Hearing
In some circumstances, an individual may be required to attend a probation violation hearing. Probation officials normally have the right to warn the person who violated probation or can even impose one of the consequences I listed above.
Nevertheless, some probation officers may discover that the form of the probation violation, it’s seriousness or the history of probation violations propels the need for a probation violation hearing. With this, you will be served with a written notice containing the offense you committed.
g). New Charges
If the probation violation states that you committed additional offenses, you will be slammed with fresh charges based on that offense. In this case, your past criminal records may be reassessed and the appropriate punishment will be determined.
h). Revocation of Probation
A judge has the power to revoke your probation. If this happens, you will certainly spend the remaining part of the time of your original offense in prison.
i). Other Consequences
Some state and federal laws indicate the particular punishment that judges and probation officers can order in a case where a person violates probation. Other punishments can be issued, depending on the parameters set by the federal or state laws.
How to Avoid Jail Time for Felony Probation Violation
If you are found guilty of a felony, it will be more appropriate to serve felony probation rather than being incarcerated in prison. Nevertheless, there are ways in which you can avoid jail time for a felony probation violation. Perhaps you wish to know, this is what to do:
You need to first understand that your first opportunity in avoiding possible jail time for a felony probation violation is at the probation violation hearing. This is the reason you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will represent you. This will be helpful because your lawyer will try to attack the prosecutor’s evidence brought against you, and dispelling the assertion that you violated their terms of probation.
However, you need to be informed that the judge has the power to pronounce a prison sentence, depending on the weight of the offense you committed.
In conclusion, felony probation jail time cannot be compared with imprisonment. However, it is important to know the pitfalls of being guilty of a felonious crime, as well as obeying the probation violation rules to mitigate a stiffer punishment.