Probation violations occur when defendants fail to meet one or more conditions of their release from prison. If you have been convicted of a crime, the judge has the discretion to impose probation instead of jail or prison time. Probation is the suspension of a jail or prison sentence, allowing you to serve your sentence without being incarcerated and subject only to the terms of your probation. As long as you follow the probationary guidelines set by the judge, you may continue serving your probation sentence outside of jail or prison. However, if you violate the terms of your probation, the judge will summon you back to court and possibly send you to jail or prison.
If you have been served with a bench warrant for breaking a term of probation, Atlanta probation attorney David Schnipper can help you avoid severe penalties and imprisonment.
Conditions of Probation
For certain crimes, the judge has discretion to impose a term of probation rather than a term of imprisonment. Probation essentially describes the suspension of imprisonment, based on specific conditions. Individuals serving a jail or prison sentence may also be eligible for probation after a certain period of time. Their release from jail or prison is likewise conditioned upon meeting certain requirements assigned by the judge. Probation conditions, like a contract, are always mandatory and are the way probationers keep their end of the “bargain.” Breaking these terms, even by accident, is known as a probation violation for which the offender will be punished.
Types of Probation Violations
Probation is conditioned upon a set of rules or guidelines that the defendant must follow at all times. It is a form of supervised release that allows the defendant to serve a sentence outside of, or in lieu of, prison. Failure to meet one or more of the conditions of release is a violation that appears on a criminal record like a separate offense. Probation violations often involve:
- Possession of firearm or contraband
- Violation of injunction or court order
- Absence from a scheduled court appearance
- Failure to timely pay imposed fine or fee
- Missed appointment or failure to check in with probation officer
- Refusal to take a drug test or positive test results
- Failure to complete community service hours
- Commission of a separate offense during probation
- Activity or association with certain places or people
Possession of contraband is strictly prohibited, even if the conviction did not involve drugs or firearms. Police may seize any contraband found on the person’s body or in the person’s home.
Violation of a court order occurs when a probationer engages in an activity prohibited by the court. This may include gambling, drinking, using a computer, using drugs, and approaching the premises or people protected by a restraining order.
A status hearing is scheduled by the clerk to check on the person’s behavior. Failure to appear at such hearings shows contempt of court and is not looked upon favorably by the judge.
Failure to pay a fine or court fee on time is often caused by economic hardship or a simple misunderstanding of how, when, and where to submit payment.
Checking in with a probation officer is one of the most common terms of probation. The officer reports on the probationer’s status. It is important to appear at appointments and sign in.
Drug tests are required for DUIs, drug offenses, and other crimes. Refusal to submit to testing or testing positive for a prohibited substance is a violation.
Community service is imposed as a preferable alternative to prison. The probationer must timely complete all the assigned hours to satisfy this requirement.
Commission of a crime or separate offense during probation may be punished severely. Infractions and misdemeanors are no longer given the leniency of a first offense.
Activity or association with certain places or people is prohibited when it relates to the crime. Probationers may be required to keep away from gangs, casinos, prostitutes, or drug dealers.
Fight Probation Violation Charges
Experienced Atlanta criminal defense lawyer David Schnipper has successfully challenged alleged violations for probationers throughout Georgia. If you have committed a probation violation or were issued a bench warrant, it is crucial to seek representation immediately. David Schnipper is dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you avoid additional penalties, fines, and prison terms. Do not appear before a judge unprepared. Let Atlanta probation violation Attorney Schnipper prove your entitlement to leniency and freedom. Call 404-983-6051 for a free consultation or contact us online.