Probation Violations

Have You Violated Your Probation?

Defendants who have been convicted of crimes are often placed on probation, whether it be informal or supervised, as part of their sentence instead of being incarcerated for a full term.  Probation is a type of conditional and/or supervised release that a judge may impose in place of, or in addition to, incarceration.  During this period, defendants must comply with all the court’s terms and rules of probation.  Failure to follow the court’s terms and rules of probation could result in a probation violation as well as a county jail or state prison sentence.  If you or someone you know is facing a probation violation, you should contact Damian Siwek, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, at DCS Defense to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation to discuss your legal options. Do not let a probation violation jeopardize your freedom.

How Probation Works

In California and Los Angeles County, there are two types of probation: Summary Probation, also called Informal Probation and Formal Probation.  As a general rule, probationary periods are for three years, but can extend to five years. During that time, if you are on Summary Probation, all you need to do is complete the specific terms of your sentence and stay out of trouble (“obey all laws, rules, and orders of the court”).  If you are placed on Formal Probation, then you must report to your probation officer once a month, do as ordered, and complete all your probation requirements.  During either type of probation you may be expected to participate in certain activities, such as attending counseling, performing community service, completing physical labor (CALTRANS) and undergoing drug testing.  If you break any of the rules, your probation can be revoked and you could be incarcerated.  It is possible to violate probation in numerous ways including:

  • Failure to pay restitution
  • Failure to enroll in or complete rehabilitation or community service
  • Failure to appear in court for a progress report
  • Failure to stay away from certain persons
  • Failure to see your probation officer when expected
  • Possessing of illegal drugs or guns and firearms
  • Associating with known criminals
  • Committing new crimes
  • Driving a vehicle with alcohol in your blood
  • Being in areas where contraband (e.g., illegal drugs, stolen property) is sold
  • Being arrested, even if no criminal charges are pending.

The penalty for violating probation depends on the nature of the violation and the seriousness of the underlying criminal case you were sentenced on.  If it is a minor violation, chances are you will be given a second chance on probation under the same terms and conditions.  If a more serious violation occurred, you will be facing harsher consequences and you could be arrested or given a court date for a formal probation violation hearing.  At the hearing, the prosecutor must prove by preponderance of the evidence that you violated your probation.  If you are found guilty, the court may impose one of several punishments including:

  • Jail or prison sentence
  • Extension of the probation time period
  • Additional probation terms
  • Probation revoked and sentence imposed – jail or prison
  • Probation reinstated with same or modified terms and conditions or different terms
  • Additional Community service
  • CALTRANS (physical labor)
  • Rehabilitation/counseling/treatment program.

The outcome of your probation violation will vary, depending on how the judge weighs several factors including the current progress on probation and the nature of the actual violation (Judges particularly hate it when a defendant, at the time of the violation, has not completed ANY terms of their probation.  Judges essentially take that lack of effort as the defendant not caring about their obligations to the court).  The prosecutor will also make a recommendation to the court on the probation violation.  A skilled criminal attorney from DCS Defense can prepare you for the hearing and can make a huge difference in the final outcome.  Probation violation considerations include the following;

  • The seriousness and nature of the probation violation
  • The number of times you previously violated your probation
  • Whether the probation violation involves a new crime
  • Mitigating and aggravating circumstances, such as current progress on probation
  • The attitude of the probation department or probation officer
  • The timing of the probation violation, i.e., whether it happened early in the probationary period or toward the end.

Probation Violation Attorney in Los Angeles

If you or someone you know has violated their probation – whether deliberately or accidentally – you need to consult Damian Siwek at DCS Defense immediately.

For aggressive and effective representation against probation violations, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.