Probation is a fantastic privilege that perpetrators of serious offenses do not get to enjoy. You get to keep your job, be there for your family, and enjoy freedom from jail. However, the court obliges you to follow up with all its requirements to retain those privileges in Virginia. Notably, the probation can be ruined if the prosecution accuses you of a violation.
Violators have reduced chances of getting out on bond. Even an attempt to make a deal with the prosecution might be futile. If one is convicted, the sentence could be harsher as well. This is why you need a Fairfax criminal defense attorney to help you take your life back. It might be an uphill task, but it is worth fighting for.
How Does the State of Virginia Classify Probation Violations?
Every violation is different, but a Fairfax probation violation attorney is equipped with the knowledge to help you understand it better. Probation violations can fall into two broad categories according to the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines.
- New Law Violations. Convicts on probation get privileges that come with a lot of responsibility. For instance, one is supposed to refrain from committing criminal activities during the period. Should you be arrested for new charges, it might initiate a ‘new law’ violation on your probation apart from the penalty for the recent offense.
- Technical Violations. Every release into probation is followed by a set of requirements that one is required to fulfill. You become a technical violator if you don’t pay fines, miss court, or skip a meeting with the probation officer.
What Actions Are Considered a Violation of Probation in Virginia?
It is possible to violate probation laws unknowingly if you are not aware of what is required of you. Thus, it is critical to understand the probation conditions, terms, and orders in Virginia. What’s more, a knowledgeable Virginia probation violation attorney can help you stay out of legal trouble.
The criminal justice lawyer will advise you to avoid:
- Committing further crimes
- Using, selling, or possessing illegal drugs
- Failing to inform the probation officer that you will be traveling outside Virginia
- Being seen around people associated with the previous crimes that you committed
- Failing to show up for your community service
- Forgetting to pay up the required fines
- Failing to appear in court on the set dates and times
- Not showing up for the scheduled appointments with the probation officer
What Steps Can the Probation Officer Take if I Violate Probation?
The consequences of your violation depend on whether you’ve pushed the boundaries before, your probation officer, and your jurisdiction. You can’t easily predict how the violation of probation case will go. For this reason, a Fairfax probation violation attorney could be necessary.
Here is how a violation case is likely to go:
- A warning. Sometimes, the probation officer might feel like what you did was a mistake or minor. This often happens if it is your first violation, and the person in charge of your program has to use their discretion. They might handle the situation on their own terms without reporting you.
- Court Appearance. Probation officers usually ask people to appear in court when their violation is serious. Although you could be facing a jail term or harsher penalties, you mustn’t miss the hearing. The court might issue a warrant of arrest for you if you do not come to the hearing, as instructed.
- Court Hearing. The judge usually gives people a chance to plead their case. Consider utilizing the opportunity to explain why you did what you did and convince the jury to be lenient with you. Remember that the prosecuting attorney is required to present convincing evidence of the alleged violation.
- Sentencing. First-timers are likely to have their probation periods extended. If the offense is not so serious, you might be asked to attend a rehabilitation program or do more hours in community service. You risk having your probation revoked and going to prison if the violation is more serious.
What Happens to Drivers That Violate Probation?
You may lose your driving privileges if you get a conviction for demerit point offenses. The period the driver stays away from driving depends on the assigned demerit points.
- 90-day suspension – 6-point violation
- 60-day suspension – 4-point violation
- 45-day suspension – 3-point violation
After that, the offending driver stays on probation for six months. A first-time demerit point offense while on probation might put you on restricted driving privileges. If you commit a similar offense for the second or subsequent times, you might have restricted driving privileges – on the condition that your driving record is monitored for 18 months.
While on the restricted driving privileges, the DMV will only allow you to drive:
- To and from court-ordered programs for your probation
- To and from your appointments with the probation officers
- To and from an intensive case monitoring program for child support, ordered by the domestic relations district court and juvenile – for non-custodial parents
- To and from appearances in court when subpoenaed as a party or witness
- To and from court-ordered visitation for your child
- To and from a place of worship once a week
- To and from school for students
- To and from your place of work
- For medical services for a member of your household with serious medical problems or an elderly parent
A Seasoned Attorney Fighting for Your Freedom
The legal standard of proof for probation violations differs from that of ordinary criminal charges. Prosecution attorneys only need a preponderance of the evidence and not the reasonable standard applied in the other cases. This requires a criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax, VA, that understands the need for a proactive approach.
Scott C. Nolan has practiced in the courtroom for over 20 years and offers a client-centric defense when faced with all manner of charges. He has a reputation for legal excellence, extraordinary client service, and aggressive defense representation. Call (703) 688-9236 for legal help in Fairfax, near Fairfax, or anywhere in Northern Virginia.