How Do People Generally Violate Their Probation?
There are several ways people can violate their probation. Usually, probation violations are because of a failure to do any of the things they are supposed to do, like pay their fines, pay their court costs, pay restitution, report to the probation officer as ordered, to do the completed counseling and evaluation as ordered, or they picked up new offenses.
Do People Knowingly Violate Probation Or Does It Happen Accidentally?
Most of the time, people know they have buried their head in the sand, and ignored their obligations. They don’t bother reporting to their probation officer, or they test positive for some substance, and they know they’ve made a mistake. They just think it’s not that big a deal, until they get a probation violation notice. Suddenly, they realize it’s a big deal.
What Happens If Someone On Probation Gets Arrested Out Of State?
Usually when you go to report the probation, the probation officer would run a records check on you. This is going to show if you got arrested anywhere else, including out of state. Remember, you are usually not even supposed to leave the state without permission from the probation officer. If you’ve been arrested somewhere else, you now have two problems. The first is you got a new arrest, and the second is you were out of state without permission. They will ask you, and then if you lie to them and they find out, you will be in much deeper trouble.
Who Has The Burden Of Proof In a Probation Violation Case?
All that the probation officer has to prove to the judge is something called beyond a preponderance of the evidence, which is basically the greater weight, or 51% of the evidence. It’s not quite like “beyond a reasonable doubt” by any means. Probation violations are only heard by a judge; they’re never heard by a jury. You’ve already got two strikes off the plate before you can get up and start talking to the judge. He is going to presume you messed up something. It’s completely different in Wisconsin than in Illinois. In Wisconsin, if the probation officer thinks you’ve violated your probation, they can issue a warrant right from their desk, and they don’t even go through the court system. Once you get picked up on a probation violation in Wisconsin, they do not give you a bond. You will sit in custody until the matter’s resolved, and that may not be for weeks.
In Illinois, the probation officer would notify the state’s attorney. The state attorney will then file a petition to revoke your probation, and send you a notice to your last known address. A common mistake is that people change their address, and do not inform their probation officer. This is another probation violation. Then you would be brought in, and the judge would set a bond on your probation violation. If you violate your probation, you are subject to the same maximum penalty as you would have been when you originally pled out to that specific charge.
For example, you might have gotten one year of court supervision as your original penalty on a Class A misdemeanor. If you violate that supervision, they now have the full gamut of penalties that they can bring against you. Now they can still give you a conviction, up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine, or work release. In Illinois, the judge has the option to either revoke your probation, re-sentence you to supervision or conditional discharge, and put whatever terms they want on it. They can also hold you in contempt of court, and give you up to 6 months in the county jail for that.
What Happens After Someone Violates Their Probation?
The state is going to notify the clerk’s office to send you notice, and bring you in front of a judge. The judge is going you read you the allegations, and set up a bond amount on your case, depending on how serious the violations are. Then usually on your first court date, if you enter denial to the charges, the judge will then set a date for either pretrial or for a jury, depending on the judge’s preference. Many times, this is where we step in, and try to get our client to do what they need to do. If it is something that the client can take care of, such as paying fines, going to counseling, or making restitution, we use them to do so. Many times, completing these court-ordered actions before their pre-trial or trial can get the probation violation petition dropped.
Keep in mind, if you’ve gotten to the point where they file the violation petition, you’ve already violated your probation. If you had a date that you’re supposed to get something completed by, and you haven’t got it completed, the fact that you do it later is going to be helpful, but it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to be completely dismissed after that. So you got to hope your attorney is doing a good job for you. The best thing, however, is to keep on top of your probation conditions, and not violate them.
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