Being accused of a probation violation can have serious consequences. Probation is the equivalent of having an invisible collar around your neck. You are not free to do whatever you like. In fact, probation simply means that a judge determined that you were eligible to serve the remainder of your term for a misdemeanor or felony conviction under supervision while being able to re-join society.
This means that if you are accused of violating your probation, you can be arrested. That is right; if you violate any terms of your probation, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
Probation Violation Hearing
Once you are apprehended, you will be required to attend a probation violation hearing. You should have the advice and counsel of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at this hearing since the District Attorney will likely present evidence to try to prove to the court that you violated the terms of your probation.
No Jury and Lessened Burden of Proof
Another important reason to have experienced counsel by your side is the fact that you are not entitled to a jury at a probation violation hearing. The judge is the ultimate authority. Furthermore, the burden of proof needed for a judge to determine that you violated your probation is much lower than at your criminal trial. At a probation violation hearing, the burden of proof for a District Attorney is merely “preponderance of the evidence.” This basically means the burden is 50.01%. Put another way, there could be conflicting evidence to indicate that you did not violate your probation, and the judge could still determine you violated your probation.
Judge Has Discretionary Authority if Violation is Found
If the judge finds you violated your probation, they are empowered to change the terms of your probation or even terminate your probation altogether. The judge can impose a monetary fine of hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars that you must pay back before your probation can end.
Along with a monetary fine, it is quite common for a judge to order someone to serve time in jail as a condition for re-instating their probation. A judge also has the authority to lengthen your probationary period. For example, if you were initially ordered to serve a five-year probationary period, the judge could extend the probationary period to eight years.
Many consider the stiffest penalty to be an outright revocation of probation. This is usually reserved for someone who has repeatedly violated their probation. The judge is within their power to outright terminate probation and order you to serve out the remainder of your term in jail.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Being accused of violating your probation carries serious consequences. Do not fight these accusations alone. The Law Office of Peter Berlin is ready to provide the best possible criminal defense representation to you or a loved one. If you have been charged with probation violation, then you will benefit from the guidance of a Los Angeles criminal attorney with decades of experience. We offer a free, comprehensive consultation. Call our office today at (310) 289-5418.