Probation comes with a set of rules that need to be followed during the period under the supervision of a probation officer. Examples of these conditions include:
- Not traveling out of state
- Meeting with the probation officer on scheduled dates
- Not committing any form of crime
- Undergoing random drug tests
Probation conditions vary widely depending on state laws, the probation officer involved, and other factors.
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When a person violates any of the terms of their probation, they commit a probation violation. Probation officers have the authority to issue a warning when the violation is minor or technical, such as if the person was late to a meeting with the probation officer.
A probation officer can also impose other consequences, depending on the severity and nature of the violation. Counseling, drug tests, rehabilitation, and fines are some examples.
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Probation officers typically report violations that are more severe, such as if the defendant was arrested for a new crime. The state prosecutor can then file a motion to revoke probation and send a written notice of the defendant's violations and order the defendant to appear at a revocation hearing.
A revocation hearing takes place in a court but without a jury. During the hearing, the defendant and his or her counsel can provide evidence, including witness testimony, to disprove the probation officer and the state prosecutor's allegations.
If the judge decides that the defendant is guilty of committing a probation violation, the probationer could face several consequences, including:
- Extension of the probation period
- Additional terms and conditions of probation
- Additional community service
- Jail time
- Revocation of probation and incarceration for the duration of the original sentence
Unlike in criminal courts, the judge is not required to use the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard to find the defendant guilty. All that is necessary for a judge to justify a guilty verdict is a preponderance of evidence- just enough evidence to make it likely than not that the defendant committed a violation.
Those who are facing a probation revocation hearing should consider an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn more about their options.
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