How Long Could I Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

Defendants are sometimes offered probation in their plea deal instead of a prison sentence. This happens when a judge or prosecutor does not believe that incarceration is necessary, but instead, supervision and possibly rehabilitation are. A probation order includes a term of probation and a suspended sentence; therefore, if a defendant allegedly breaks this agreement, it is taken very seriously by the judge. In some cases, the defendant may face extended probation or even time in jail. 

Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. is available to review your case. Call our attorneys to discuss possible legal strategies to protect your rights. 

Common Reasons for a Probation Violation

All probation violations stem from the defendant’s failure to adhere to the agreement’s terms. However, there are two main ways that an individual may violate a probation order: first, by breaking a law; and second, by violating the technical terms of the probation. If the probationer has a new arrest, they may be required to attend a hearing. A few of the most common charges that may violate probation include: 

  • Theft or burglary charges, 
  • Illegal drug use or possession, 
  • DUI offenses, and
  • Allegations of domestic violence.

Furthermore, failing to uphold the terms of your probation and any orders from your probation officer may be deemed a violation. Some of the most common technical violations are:

  • Failing a drug test,
  • Not reporting to your probation officer, 
  • Failing to seek employment,
  • Being absent for mandatory services, and
  • Not completing required community service. 

It’s important to note that failure to pay fines or other costs is only a basis for probation violation if the defendant intentionally fails to pay. 

Will I Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

While jail time is a possible consequence of a probation violation, it isn’t a guarantee. The judge must answer key questions to find you guilty of a violation and sentence you to prison. And even if the judge does find that the defendant violated their agreement, many factors influence the judge’s ruling. If your probation violation shows intentional misconduct or if you’ve violated a previous probation sentence, then the court will see that you didn’t take advantage of that opportunity, and therefore the sentence may increase.

The seriousness of the violation also impacts whether jail time will be ordered and for how long. If you possessed drugs and relapsed, the judge may order you to go into a rehab program. However, if you attempt to conceal or tamper with your drug results, then the courts will see a willing attempt to deceive them. 

A jail sentence may be determined if you miss a court appearance or meeting with your probation officer. However, certain mitigating circumstances may warrant understanding from the judge. With an attorney, you will devise a legal defense that demonstrates that the violation occurred due to extenuating circumstances. 

Talk to an Attorney At the Earliest Opportunity

If you’ve been accused of violating your probation order, don’t take the situation lightly. Call Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. right away for a consultation. We can help you prepare for the next steps.