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What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?

After being convicted of a crime, many individuals are sentenced to a period of probation. During this time, they must strictly follow a set of rules and guidelines. Failure to do so can result in a probation violation charge, followed by a probation violation hearing. Let’s discuss the types of violations and potential outcomes.

Types of Probation Violations

When on probation, there are a significant number of rules that must be followed to a tee. Because of this, many individuals accidentally or unavoidably violate their probation. There are two many types of violations with very different circumstances.

Technical Violations

This type of violation occurs when a condition of probation is broken.

This could be:

  • Missing a court date
  • Not paying a fine
  • Missing a meeting with a probation officer
  • Staying out past curfew

Hundreds of thousands of people are found guilty of these violations each year, putting them at risk of going back to jail for a relatively minor offense. While these are seemingly minor violations, they can still result in serious changes to one’s probation status.

It’s also easy to accidentally violate your probation in one of these ways. If a simple mistake led you to be charged with violating your probation, an attorney can help explain this to the court and advocate for understanding and leniency.

Substantive Violations

This type of violation is more serious. A substantive violation occurs when the individual on probation commits a new crime. For example, getting a DUI while on probation. This type of violation can result in a probation violation charge and a charge for the new offense.

What to Expect at a Probation Violation Hearing

After the courts are alerted that you violated probation, you’ll be required to attend a probation violation hearing. At this hearing, the judge will decide what repercussions you should face for violating your probation. There are a few potential outcomes.

Revocation

The judge may determine that you should no longer be allowed on probation. This outcome is most likely if the defendant was on probation for a felony offense or if they committed a substantive violation. When this occurs, the judge will also impose a sentence for the initial offense that led to the individual being sentenced to probation.

Modification

If the judge allows the defendant to stay on probation, they may alter the terms. This could include adding new conditions that must be followed or adding time to the length of the probation sentence.

No Changes

While ideally the probationer will be allowed to continue on without any changes after their violation, this is the least common outcome. Still, the probationer may be given a warning and be kept on the same probation setup. This is especially true for individuals who have no prior record of violating their probation.

Preparing for a Probation Violation Hearing

If you’ve recently been notified by the courts that you need to attend a probation violation hearing, there are things you can do to prepare.

  • Hire an attorney: Working with an attorney gives you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Hire a defense attorney to help you prepare a defense and advocate for you at your hearing.
  • Be professional: When you attend your hearing, make sure you are in proper attire and address the judge respectfully. These little actions can make a difference in the final decision and your outcome.
  • If applicable, establish your alibi: You may be facing a probation violation charge when you are actually innocent. In this case, look for evidence that can support your alibi.

Probation Violation Attorneys in Jacksonville

At Monroe & King, P.A., our team can help advocate for you at a probation violation hearing. Whether you are charged with a technical or substantive violation, we can help fight for you to get the best possible outcome. Reach out as soon as possible so we have optimal time to prepare for your hearing - give us a call at (904) 474-3115 to get started.