Individuals who commit a felony and are sentenced within California may be allowed to carry out their sentences outside prison. This alternative means of punishment refers to probation. Probation is usually granted to individuals who committed the least serious felonies or first-time offenders.
If the felon can complete their probation without further incidents or arrests, they would have successfully avoided going to prison.
However, if the felon is arrested, or charged with another felony, they will be penalized again. Similarly, felons who violate the terms of their probation may be imprisoned.
In this article, we will explain everything you should know about felony probation in California.
Felony probation in California
1. Individuals who are convicted of violent crimes are not eligible for felony probation.
This is because most violent crimes have a compulsory prison term attached to them. There are other felonies that make an individual ineligible to be put on probation. These include; sexual assault, kidnapping, and abuse of a minor. These felonies are usually punished with long prison sentences.
2. Before an offender is placed on felony probation, numerous factors are considered.
These factors are:
– The severity of the felony that was committed
– Did the felony threaten the lives of other people? If so, were vulnerable individuals targeted?
– Does the defendant have a criminal record?
– What circumstances led to the crime being committed?
– Is the defendant a minor?
– Will the defendant endanger people in the community?
The factors listed above will be considered. Then, the judge will be able to decide if probation would be a good choice.
3. In California, the judge can suspend your sentence and place you on probation instead.
This suspended sentence is conditional. If you violate the terms of your probation, the suspended sentence may be revoked. Even if the judge did not sentence you yet, violating the conditions of your probation could lead to further punishment.
4. The duration of felony probation in California is 3-5 years.
However, this duration may be altered when the factors surrounding the offense is considered. Furthermore, the duration of the probation may be lengthened if the felon is penalized for violating the terms of their probation.
5. Some common conditions the offender will need to adhere to includes:
– obey the court-ordered terms of your probation
– Meet your supervisor or probation officer regularly. If you are asked to, call the officer.
– Pay the fee for probation supervision monthly
– Pay all court-ordered compensation and restitution
– Voluntarily submit yourself for drug and alcohol tests
– Perform and complete your community service
– Allow the probation officer to perform a home search
– Avoid communicating with former criminal associates
6. If you are serving felony probation within California, you are not allowed to leave the country.
This is because the state may be unable to transfer your supervision to another government outside the USA.
7. Felons will be unable to travel out of the county or state without permission
Felons who wish to travel to a different state will need to inform their probation officer. If the probation officer does not approve of the trip, the felon will be unable to travel.
8. Felons can request approval to move to a different state
Individuals placed on felony probation in California can petition the court to allow them to move to another state. This petition will be granted if both states involved agree. Furthermore, if the felon has a justifiable reason for moving, it will be taken into consideration.
A felon’s petition may be granted if they are moving for employment, school or to be closer to their family.
Read also: Can a Felon Travel to Canada?
9. Violating the terms of your probation could have different outcomes
In California, there is no set punishment used to deal with people who violate the terms of their probation. Some things that could happen to individuals who flaunt the rules include:
– Their probation officer may give them a stern warning and another chance
– The judge could summon the felon for a violation of the probation hearing. At the hearing, the judge judge could warn the offender and reinstate the original terms of the probation.
– The judge could make the terms of probation stricter
– The length of the felony probation may be increased
– If the felon was on probation because of a suspended sentence, the judge could revoke the suspended sentence.
– The defendant may be asked to perform community services
– Finally, the judge could cancel the probation and require that the felon serve a prison term instead.
10. After completing your probation in California, you can apply for an expungement of criminal records.
An expungement refers to when the judge allows the felon to withdraw their guilty plea or the felon’s charges are dismissed. If the felon was charged for a wobbler offense, the expungement process may take longer. This is because the offense will first have to be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. After the charge is reduced, the felon can apply for the expungement of that charge.
Felons who were not put on probation but served their sentence in prison are not eligible to apply for an expungement of their felony conviction.
11. Individuals on probation can ask for early termination of probation
In California, a felon can appeal to have their probation end earlier. The defendant’s attorney will have to file a petition. Afterward, the attorney will need to provide the prosecutor with sufficient reasons why the request should be granted.
At the hearing, the attorney will also be able to state their client’s case and ask the judge for early termination of probation.
12. A defendant on trial can appeal to be placed on probation
If the felon believes that they are deserving of leniency, they could ask their lawyer to appeal for felony probation. The appeal may not be granted but it is worth a shot.
This is a list of everything we believe that you should know about felony probation in California.