Probation is often part of a criminal defendant's sentence. When probation is given, the person is allowed to remain a member of the community after jail time (if any) has been successfully completed.
California probation laws vary depending on the type of probation issued, such as:
Formal Probation also referred to as Supervised Probation requires the defendant to meet with an assigned probation officer on a regular basis depending on their probation's terms and conditions..
Informal Probation also referred to as Summary Probation requires the defendant to complete certain terms of the sentence and stay out of trouble. Scheduled meetings with a probation officer are not mandated under summary or informal probation.
For all types of probation, the California criminal defendant's sentence may include any or all of the following:
• Community service
• Physical labor
• Drug testing
• Jail time
• Length of Probation
Normally, probation, formal or informal, lasts three years, but this can vary depending on the defendant circumstances. In some felony cases, formal probation can last for up to 5 years and can last as long as it takes the defendant to pay restitution if restitution is required as part of the conditions and terms.
• Probation Violations
Probation is a serious matter. The penalties for a probation violation depend on the severity of the violation. In some cases, a second chance may be given and the probation violation will not affect the terms or conditions of the probation.
As soon as a probation violation occurs, an arrest may follow shortly thereafter and/or the defendant may be ordered to court for a probation violation hearing. During the court hearing, the Prosecutor must prove the violation by more than 50% of the evidence, as opposed to, beyond a reasonable doubt, which is necessary for a criminal trial.
There are several factors that the Judge and Prosecutor use when considering a probation violation. They include:
• The seriousness of the probation violation
• The nature of the probation violation
• The history of previous probation violations
• New criminal activity surrounding the probation violation
• Aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the probation violation
• The probation officer and/or probation department view of the probation violation
• The probation violation with respect to the probation term (whether it occurred at the beginning, middle, or end of the probationary term)
When a California criminal defendant is serving probation, there are rules that must be followed. When the terms and conditions of probation are broken during the probationary period, a probation violation occurs, which can result in the revocation of probation or jail time.
Probation can be violated in many ways. The most commons types of probation violations include:
• Failure to Pay When the defendant fails to pay required fines or restitution to the victim, a probation violation may occur.
• Failure to Comply Part of a defendant‚Äö√Ñ√¥s probation terms and conditions may include rehabilitation or community service. When the defendant fails to complete these requirements, a probation violation may occur. • Failure to Appear Many probation terms and conditions include a scheduled court appearance for a progress report. When the defendant fails to appear for the required court appearance, a probation violation may occur.
• Violation of Rules Part of the terms and conditions of probation may include rules that prohibit the defendant from visiting certain persons or locations. When the defendant fails to comply, a probation violation may occur. • Failure to Report Probation terms and conditions may require the defendant to report to a probation officer at scheduled times. Failure to appear when expected may result in a probation violation.
• Possession of Illegal or Controlled Substances When the defendant possesses illegal weapons or drugs, a probation violation may occur.
• Committing Crimes Staying out of trouble is mandatory during probation. If the defendant commits new crimes during the probationary period, a probation violation may occur.
• Being Arrested
Regardless of whether criminal charges are present, when the defendant is arrested during the probationary period, a probation violation may occur.
• Probation Violation-Penalties
If you have violated probation these penalties may apply:
• Extension of probationary period
• Amendment of probation terms
• Possible prison or jail time
• Revocation of probation
• Reinstatement of probation with same or different terms
• Community service
• Physical Labor (CalTrans)
• Treatment program
• The difference between Probation and Parole
• Parole is a time period after a prison inmate has been conditionally released from state prison, which allows the prisoner to reside in the community under supervision.
• Parole Violation occurs when the defendant violates any of the terms and conditions of parole. In some cases, a parole violation hearing is required, which includes the Parolee, the Probation Officer, and a committee of selected individuals. Attorneys are generally excluded from parole violation hearings.
• Probation differs from Parole in that probation follows a county jail sentence, whereas parole follows a state prison sentence. Probation may also be assigned when jail time is not part of the defendant's sentence.
• When a Probation Violation occurs, the attorney is allowed to represent the defendant in the probation violation hearing.