Being required to serve a period of time on probation is fairly common following a criminal conviction. If all goes well, you will successfully complete your probation and move on with your life. If you violate your probation, however, there could be serious consequences that follow. A Murfreesboro probation violation lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby explains what to do if you have violated your probation.
Probation is a sentencing alternative that may be included in a sentence in addition to, or in lieu of, a period of incarceration. As such, you may spend time on probation following a period of incarceration in jail or you might receive an entirely suspended sentence and be allowed to spend that time on probation. It is important to have a clear understanding of any suspended sentence you received because you could be ordered to serve that sentence if you violate your probation.
Conditions of Probation
While on probation you must comply with all standard conditions of probation. You may also be required to abide by special conditions if ordered by the judge. Standard conditions are conditions that everyone sentenced to probation must comply with while on probation. Common examples of standard conditions include:
- Reporting to a probation officer on a regular basis
- Maintaining employment or enrollment in school
- Not getting arrested
- Paying all court costs and fees
- Refraining from alcohol and drugs
Special conditions are tailored to the facts and circumstances of your case, so not everyone will have special conditions. Some common examples of special conditions of probation include:
- Completion of anger management or substance abuse classes
- Payment of restitution to a victim
- Completing a substance abuse or a mental health evaluation
- Abiding by a “No Contact Order” that prohibits you from having any contact with the victim in your case.
What Happens If I Violate a Condition of My Probation?
If there is an alleged violation of your probation a notice will be sent to the sentencing court informing them of the alleged violation. You may receive a notice to appear or a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Ultimately, a hearing in front of the original sentencing court will be held to address the alleged violation. Although similar to a criminal trial, a probation violation hearing is less formal. For example, the rules of evidence are not the same; however, one thing that is the same is your right to be represented by an attorney. It is in your best interest to exercise that right because the if the judge finds that you did violate your probation you could face serious consequences, including:
- Verbal warning. If you are fortunate, you may only receive a verbal warning and reprimand from the judge. This is only likely to happen if the violation is not serious and you have no history of violations.
- Modification of your probation conditions. If the violation was more serious, or you were reprimanded for a previous violation, you might be continued on probation but with modifications. For example, the judge might extend your probation or add additional conditions such as drug testing or more frequent reporting.
- Revocation. If the current violation is a serious one, or if you have repeatedly violated your probation, the judge may revoke your probation. In that case, the judge will order you to serve some, or all, of the suspended sentence that was originally ordered by the court.
What Should I Do If I am Facing a Probation Violation?
If your probation officer has filed a notice of violation with the court, or you have reason to believe that one is forthcoming, consult with an experienced probation violation lawyer right away. Your lawyer may be able to defend you against the allegations and/or negotiate a favorable resolution if a violation is imminent.
Contact a Murfreesboro Probation Violation Lawyer
If you are facing a probation violation in Tennessee, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro probation violation lawyer to discuss your legal options. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.