What Are The Common Ways That People Violate Probation?
Failure to report is probably the most common where people are ordered to be on supervised probation and they have a probation officer and they’re required to report to them on a monthly basis and they don’t show up for those reporting sessions. Another way that they violate the terms of their probation is failing to pay court costs and fines that were assessed by the judge or failing to pay supervision fees for the probation office. Probation office, that’s how they make their money. They get state funds and state grants but they’re trying to make up the deficit in their budget by requiring the probationers to pay supervision fee, so they’re quick to tell the judge if they aren’t making payments.
The third most common and the surest way to get your probation revoked is being charged with a new crime. We see that all the time where somebody on probation gets arrested again and even if it’s in a different county, different state theoretically. Once the probation officer gets knowledge of it, they’re going to file a report with the judge or the probationer would have to reappear before the judge and show just cause why his or her probation shouldn’t be revoked.
What Are the Consequences to Violating Probation for the First Time Vs. Multiple Times?
If you come back before the court on what we call a technical violation, which would be not reporting or failing to pay fines or court costs or supervision fees, most judges in Jefferson County at least, will give you a second chance. They will give a certain warning and give you a second chance in most instances but if you come back before the court because you pick up a new crime, you’d better have a good defense to that crime and a good story to tell the judge as to why he or she should let you continue on probation. That’s certainly the most devastating to a probationer’s chances of staying on probation if they get in trouble again.
Do People Sometimes Accidentally Violate Probation? Are the Courts Sympathetic to That?
Yes. Typically if there is a good excuse, the court is going to be understanding. Now, if that happens over and over again, they’re not going to be that understanding. If somebody misses a supervision session because they were sick, in the hospital or they had a family member’s illness or had to care for a child or something like that, most of the time, the court’s going to be sympathetic to that. Even before those cases get to the court, most of the time, the probation officers are sensitive to that if there is a good communication between the probationer and the probation officer. Unfortunately that causes more problems than it should, it’s just that there’s a lack of communication between the person on probation and his or her probation officer. Most of the problems could probably be solved without the necessity of them going before the court if there was a good communication.
Can Conditions of Probation Be Modified With the Assistance of an Attorney?
Yes, they can. In Alabama, judges will say at the sentencing hearing that after a certain amount of time, if the probationer is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, that they can come back before the court and request the probation be changed from supervised to unsupervised.
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