Probation is an alternative sentencing option in lieu of jail time. It is used by courts primarily for minor offenses as it alleviates pressure on the prison system and allows citizens to avoid jail under certain conditions. The conditions of probation typically include meeting with a probation agent, passing drug tests, avoiding places of disrepute, attending counseling, performing community service, and not leaving state lines unauthorized. The conditions also stipulate that probationers not commit additional crimes.
Being back in life’s regular routines is wonderful, but it can sometimes get in the way of completing probation. Abiding by the conditions is critical – one missed appointment with a probation agent could result in a “probation hold” followed by a probation hearing and potential jail time. Upon being put on probation hold, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, and you’ll be jailed, usually without bail. There may be an initial hearing to determine probable cause that probation was violated, which must happen within 15 days. After that, a formal probation hearing must take place within 50 days of detainment.
Courts and judges tend to consider probation a light sentence compared to jail time, so when probation is violated the sentences can be strict. Probation agents will often advise you to waive your right to a probation hearing in return for a lighter sentencing recommendation. However, agents are not judges, and the final decision is always up to the court.
That makes working with an attorney experienced in defending probation violation cases even more important. If you’ve been accused of violating probation, contact the attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates as soon as possible—ideally before your agent contacts you for questioning.