Probation Violation Attorney – PC 1203.3
California Penal Code § 1203.3 governs laws of probation violation. It states: “The court has the authority at any time during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence. The court may at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby, and when the good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person held. The court also has the authority at any time during the term of mandatory supervision pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170 to revoke, modify, or change the conditions of the court's order suspending the execution of the concluding portion of the supervised person's term.”
One of the benefits of being given probation is that if you successfully complete it, you may qualify for a dismissal via expunging your criminal record. Expungements have a long list of requirements and some charges may not qualify, but it's a great option for many who may have made a small indiscretion in the past and has since learned from it.
Wais Azami is an Orange County probation violation attorney who has defended against many violation of probation cases. Our office is located in the heart of Orange County to assist with your probation violation case in West Justice Center, North Court, Harbor/Newport Court, Santa Ana Court, La County or Riverside County.
What causes a probation violation?
A probation term can be violated by doing any of the following:
- Failure to report to a probation officer after being instructed to do so
- Failure to pay court-imposed fines and fees
- Failure to pay court-imposed restitution
- Committing a new crime while on probation
- Using, selling, storing or transporting illegal drugs
- Traveling outside for state without informing probation officer
- Failure to appear for court appearance date(s)
- Failing a drug test if it's part of the terms of your probation to be tested
- Failure to complete court-ordered treatment, counseling, or education program(s)
- Violating the terms of a restraining order if your conviction was for a domestic violence charge
- Failure to start or complete a court-ordered community service
- Failure to comply with any additional terms of probation as set by court
What are the usual probation restrictions for a misdemeanor?
There are my restrictive terms of probation after someone is found guilty of a charge. Different crimes will have different terms of probation. The following is a list of a few of the terms, but is not exhaustive and may not apply to every criminal charge:
- Do not break any laws
- Do not drink and drive, even a drop, not just below the legal limits
- Do not carry any weapons
- Agree to searches by police
- Stay away from protected person if it's an assault or domestic violence or a sex crime
- Pay all fines and fees
- Make restitution payments
- Complete any court-ordered education or counseling programs
- Turn in your firearm or sign a form stating you don't own a firearm
- Anything else the court deems necessary
What are the usual probation restrictions for a felony?
The terms of probation for felony convictions is very similar to misdemeanor convictions, but they tend to be more harsh, more lengthy, and the probation maybe formal, rather than informal.
What's the difference between an informal probation and formal probation?
Informal probation means you cannot break anymore laws (misdemeanors or felonies, not traffic infractions) for duration of your probation. You also don't have a probation officer assigned to you. You won't have to check in.
Formal probation requires that you register and meet with your probation officer immediately or a within given time period. The probation officer will have rules about how often you must check in with them, how soon you must notify them of any chances in your personal and professional life; moving, traveling, job changes, new arrests, etc. They may also require you to submit to drug or alcohol tests. They may do random searches of your persons, residence or vehicle.
What happens if I violate my probation?
If you violate the term(s) of probation, you will be sent a letter to appear in court. Usually, a warrant for your arrest will also be issued. If an arrest warrant or a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest, you will have a "no bail" status. This means you will not be able to bail out until seeing judge regarding your violation. Such a lockup can take days or weeks, even if you later were found to not have violated any of the terms of your probation. That's why it's imperative to call a Criminal Defense Attorney (VOP lawyer) ASAP to assist with your warrant and set a date for the VOP hearing (violation of probation hearing). If you go in willingly with an attorney, there is a better chance you won't have to spend much time locked up or at all.
What is a violation of probation hearing?
Much like a normal criminal case hearing, both the prosecution and defense will be allowed to present their evidence and witnesses to the court. However, the differences between a violation of probation (VOP) hearing and a normal criminal proceeding is that you have already been found guilty of the crime for which you have been accused of violating the probation. Thus, the prosecutor doesn't not have to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard like in normal criminal proceedings. The prosector merely has to convince the court/judge that a violation of the probation has occurred. You only have to violate one of the many terms of probation to be in found in violation of your probation. You also will not have the right to a jury trial--VOP hearings are basically bench trials. Bench trials or hearings are those only heard by the judge. If you have been found in violation of the term(s) of your probation, the judge will usually issue the punishment immediately after the VOP hearing.
Do I have a right to have a lawyer at my violation probation hearing?
Yes, absolutely! See the next question below:
What are my rights at a violation of probation hearing?
During a violation of probation hearing you have certain rights. It's similar to a normal accusation when someone is charged with a crime and facing harsh penalties. Essentially, you are being accused violating the term(s) of your probation. As such, you'll be facing certain penalties. Because of this, you'll have the right to:
- Be heard by a neutral judge or magistrate
- Have an attorney present in court to represent you
- Be provided with written record of the accusation(s) against you
- Bring witnesses or evidence to help with your defense
What is the punishment or penalty for a probation violation?
Penalties for violating the terms of your probation can vary widely. It will depend if this was violation of a misdemeanor or felony offense. It'll matter how egregious the violation was and the circumstances around the violation. It also matters if this was a first-time violation or a repeat violation of probation. Additionally, it will matter on your prior record and how many charges were added from the violation.
Examples of Lighter or Relaxed Penalties for violating probation:
- Restarting your probation time (Misdemeanors are usually 1-3 years and Felonies are 3-7 years)
- Community Service
- Starting a rehabilitation program
- Anything else which the court and probation department feel will make you comply
Examples of Severe or Harsh Penalties for violating probation:
- Time in jail or prison to finish the original sentence
- Restrictions which may affect your daily life, work and/or residence
- Paying fines
- Incurring a longer probation time