Violating Probation in Virginia—What You Can Expect
Most individuals who receive a probation sentence after pleading or being found guilty of a crime in Virginia make every effort to comply with the court’s conditions. After all, a sentence of probation allows you to live in your home with your loved ones, work a job that allows you to provide for your family, and generally carry out a normal life (with some important exceptions). However, it can be challenging to comply with the rigorous conditions that some courts impose pursuant to probation. Additionally, you may be accused of a probation violation which didn’t actually occur. Being found guilty of a probation violation can have severe consequences. Consult with a Virginia attorney as soon as possible after being accused of a probation violation, so that you can ensure your rights are fully represented at a probation violation hearing.
Probation is typically imposed in one of two circumstances: either instead of a jail sentence, or after a jail sentence has been served. During a probation sentence, the court imposes certain restrictions on your freedom for a set period of time. While judges often have a great deal of discretion in deciding what conditions to impose, individuals serving a probation sentence will most often be required to: meet regularly with a probation officer; submit to drug tests; not leave the state; remain regularly employed; remain in the state or county; and not own a firearm. While committing crimes is always illegal, the consequences for being found guilty of a crime also become even more severe during the probation period. Should you miss scheduled meetings with your probation officer, fail to complete community service, stop making child support payments or fail to pay court fees, you could receive a probation violation report, which will be submitted to the court.
If you receive a sufficient number of minor violations, or commit a serious violation, you will be summoned to appear at a probation violation hearing. At the hearing, your probation officer, other law enforcement, and your prosecutor will present evidence of the alleged violation, and you will have an opportunity to defend yourself. Should the court conclude that you did violate the terms of your probation, the court could impose additional terms on your probation, extend the length of your probation sentence, or force you to serve the jail sentence you would have served had you not received probation. In fact, if you’re found to have committed a particularly serious violation of your probation, you could receive up to the maximum sentence for the crime of which you were found guilty, even if you were originally sentenced to a lesser term before being granted probation. This is why it is critical to obtain experienced, diligent legal help for your probation hearing, so that you can stay out of jail and continue working toward a brighter future.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of committing a crime in Virginia, including DUI, theft, or drug-related offenses, seek aggressive and knowledgeable legal help to ensure your rights are protected in court. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Pack Law Group for a consultation on your case, at 540-586-7225.