The cost to taxpayers of incarcerating criminals is skyrocketing, and prison congestion is an increasing problem. More and more judges are turning to probation as an alternative to lengthy jail or prison sentences for those convicted of a crime. Probation is the suspension of a prison sentence—in essence, a judge has the discretion to allow you to serve all or part of your sentence outside of prison, provided you abide by certain rules. These rules are often extremely strict, however, and even a minor transgression may result in an accusation of probation violation.
Conditions of Probation
When a judge sentences a convicted offender to probation, the probationer must agree to follow a series of orders and obligations as a condition of release. Often, these conditions involve factors relevant to the probationer or case for which they have been convicted.
For example, a prospective probationer against whom a restraining order has been filed may be ordered to observe that restraining order as a condition of their probation. Failure to do so would result not only in the standard sanctions associated with violating a restraining order, but also potentially immediate revocation of their probation and incarceration for the remaining duration of their sentence.
We cannot stress this enough: the conditions on which probation is contingent are extremely strict, and even an accidental violation of these conditions may result in a violation hearing, as well as incarceration. Contacting a Atlanta probation violation attorney is advised.
Types of Probation Violations
Although the conditions of probation vary from case to case, and between judges, some common probation violations include :
- Possession of a firearm or contraband
- Violation of a court order
- Failure to appear at a scheduled court hearing
- Failure to pay a court-imposed fine or fee
- A missed appointment or failure to meet with probation officer
- A failed drug test
- Failure to complete court-imposed community service
- Commission of a separate offense during probation
- Prohibited activity or association
If a probationer has been accused of violating their probation, a judge will schedule a violation hearing. During the hearing, the judge will render a decision aboutwhether probation shall be revoked, in which case the defendant may have to serve the remainder of their sentence in jail or prison.
If You’ve Been Accused of a Probation Violation, You Need an Experienced Attorney on Your Side
Many people are unaware that during a probation violation hearing, probationers are granted certain rights to due process, including the right to be represented by an attorney. A criminal defense attorney experienced in violation hearings knows how to protect your rights, and can help you avoid additional prison time, fines, and other penalties related to the alleged violation.
Schnipper Law, P.C. has successfully defended many clients against accusations of probation violation around the greater Atlanta area. David Schnipper has worked on both the prosecutorial and defense sides of the criminal legal system, so he has invaluable insight into the strategies and priorities of the court. Our team will work aggressively in your defense to secure your rights, and safeguard your freedom.