Violation of Probation
When a person convicted of a crime is sentenced to prison, but the court suspends their sentence, or a person is released from prison before serving the entirety of their sentence, they may be placed on what is called probation.
Probation is a program that allows an offender to remain out of prison provided they comply with a set of conditions determined by the sentencing court.
If you fail to comply with any condition of probation, you can be charged with a criminal offense known as violation of probation. If you are found guilty of violating probation, you may be subject to additional probation time or new and stricter conditions of probation.
You may even be ordered to serve all or part of your outstanding original prison sentence, in addition to any other penalties that arise from the violation. For example, if you violate probation by committing another crime, you can be sentenced to additional jail time for that new crime.
Violation of probation can lead to serious consequences, so you need dedicated, experienced legal representation to help you face these charges. If you have been charged with violating the conditions of probation, you need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away. Contact me, Attorney Erin Field, to discuss your rights and options.
Types of Probation Violations in Connecticut
A person commits a violation of probation when they fail to follow one or more of the conditions of probation set by the court. Although there are probation conditions that are common to most cases, the courts can set nearly any condition of probation that is tailored to the offender’s particular case.
Some of the common types of probation violations in Connecticut include:
- Failure to report to probation officer
- Failure to pay court-ordered fines, costs, or restitution
- Failure to appear in court when ordered to do so
- Failure to complete court-ordered treatment programs, such as drug and alcohol abuse programs, anger management programs, or sex offender treatment programs
- Failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements if convicted of a sex crime
- Violating protective or restraining orders
- Arrest for another offense
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to maintain gainful employment
Even though some conditions of probation do not seem serious – like being late to a court appearance – the courts treat all conditions of probation very seriously. Any violation could result in the imposition of stricter conditions or even the complete revocation of probation.
What Happens If You Are Accused of Violation of Probation in Connecticut?
If you are accused of violating probation in Connecticut, the process and consequences that result will depend on the type of violation. For example, the first time you commit a minor violation of the conditions of probation – such as missing a meeting with your probation officer or missing a court-ordered counseling or treatment session – you may receive only a warning from your probation officer. Any further violations after this point, however, will likely result in more serious consequences.
If the state decides to press charges of violation of probation against you, you will be arrested and ordered to appear for a violation of probation hearing. This will occur within 120 days of the charge. It is important to remember that hearings for a violation of probation are very different from criminal trials. First, you do not have a right to a jury trial. Instead, a judge will decide your case.
Also, the prosecution does not need to prove your violation “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The state’s standard of proof is instead a preponderance of the evidence, a less severe test. The state may be permitted to use types of evidence that would be inadmissible in a criminal trial.
If you are found guilty of violating probation, the court can impose a variety of consequences, such as adding time to your probation term, imposing new conditions of probation, or revoking your probation and ordering you to serve the remainder of your prison sentence for the conviction that led to your probation.
Penalties for Probation Violation in Connecticut
Depending on the severity of your probation violation, a Connecticut court can impose a variety of penalties. If the court establishes your violation of probation, it can impose penalties such as:
- Continuing the term of probation
- Modifying or enlarging the conditions of probation
- Extending the term of probation
- Revoking probation and requiring the offender to serve the underlying sentence of incarceration
Connecticut Misdemeanor Probation Violation
If the offense for which you were sentenced to probation was classified as a misdemeanor, then a probation violation is typically treated as a misdemeanor as well. For example, if you willfully fail to appear for a court hearing relating to a violation of your probation, such failure to appear is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Felony Probation Violation in Connecticut
If you were sentenced to probation for a felony offense, many probation violations become felony offenses as well. Failure to appear for a court hearing relating to violation of probation, or becoming ineligible for court-ordered sexual offender treatment are deemed felony violations of probation.
Common Reasons for Probation Violations
The law imposes a responsibility on an offender to comply with the conditions of his or her probation. However, there are many common reasons why someone on probation may violate the conditions of his or her probation, such as:
- Forgetting to attend a meeting with the probation officer, a court-ordered treatment or counseling session, or a court hearing
- Changing residence address without informing the probation officer or updating sex offender registration
- Being fired from a job
- Hanging around drugs and alcohol
- Associating with people involved in criminal activities
How Can a Connecticut Probation Violation Lawyer Help Me?
If you have been charged with violation of probation, you need the legal assistance of a Connecticut probation violation attorney. A probation violation attorney can help you understand the consequences you may be facing, your rights, and your options for your violation hearing.
An attorney can also represent you, advocating on your behalf both before the hearing and at the hearing itself. Your lawyer will fight to ensure that you avoid the more serious consequences of violating the conditions of your probation. If you are innocent of the charges of violating your probation, an attorney can provide an aggressive defense, forcing the state to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence.
Contact Erin Field for a Consultation Today
A violation of probation charge can have serious consequences and should not be taken lightly. You need dedicated, aggressive legal representation to help you mitigate the consequences of a probation violation. Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you face your probation violation charges.