Understanding Arizona Probation Law: Violations, Consequences, and Legal Options
A probation violation is a serious offense under federal and state laws. It occurs when a person convicted of a criminal offense and granted the privilege of spending time in the community by the court, breaks the terms and conditions of his probation. If you currently serve probation, you want to avoid breaking the law as it may lead to dire consequences such as additional terms in your probation, hefty fines, revocation of probation, or incarceration.
Since returning to jail is the last thing you would want, make sure to familiarize yourself with circumstances that warrant violations, possible consequences, and legal actions you may undertake should your privilege be revoked.
Depending on the offense you committed, your probation may last for an average of three years. In general, the court considers that you have violated the law if there was ignorance, avoidance, refusal, or voluntary disregard of the conditions of the probation. However, what constitutes a violation would depend on laws in the area of jurisdiction and influenced by the assessment of your probation officer and the judge.
Being found guilty of doing any of these circumstances warrants a violation of probation:
- Failing to attend or being late in a scheduled court appearance
- Having unpaid court-ordered fines or restitution (for victims in prior offenses)
- Failure to comply to the scheduled meeting with a probation officer
- Going beyond the area or state permitted by the probation officer
- Being accused of a crime such as illegal drug possession, sale, and use of illegal substances; being a sex offender, or aggravated assault
- Committing any of these felonies: shoplifting, robbery or burglary
Anyone who violates his probation terms through any of the actions listed above will be reported by the probation officer supervised to handle your case. All offenders under officer supervision would undergo due process. You will be issued a warning and will be summoned in court for a probation violation hearing. The probation officer would then submit his personal assessment on which circumstance led to your violation conviction, how severe it was, previous records of convictions, and suggested sanction for your faulty action.
When you stand before a judge during the court hearing, the prosecutor will need to establish a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the prosecuting attorney should prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is having more than50 percent likelihood of committing the violation. Getting an experienced probation lawyer may help you build a good defense against the prosecution.
Penalties for Violating Probation Laws
Just as a violation varies between states, the punishment for such would also vary depending on the circumstance leading to the misdemeanor, how serious the offense was, being a first-time versus a repeat probation offender, your criminal history, and aggravating factors or circumstances lessening the severity of the misdeed.
The final sentence for a probationer would largely depend on the discretion of the judge assigned to handle your case. Imposed sanctions may range from lighter sentences to heavier punishments based on the statute of limitations.
Light sentencing for disregarding the probation code includes community service, suspension of certain privileges, rehabilitation centers, boot camps, and correctional programs.
Anyone found guilty of violating the probation law and committing grave offenses may be punished with monetary payments to the victims, jail time, having the probation revoked, or serving your original prison sentence. You will be sentenced immediately after the hearing.
Legal Options When Facing Probation Violation in Arizona
If your supervising officers suspect that you violated the probation agreement, you have the legal right to receive a written notice from your probation officer, bring the case to the courtroom in front of a neutral judge, hire a legal representative or defense attorney, and present evidence for a solid defense plan. This may be done through testimony from witnesses who can attest to your innocence or how you abide with your probation terms. Doing these can help you attain the best possible outcome.Expert legal advice from the best defense lawyers becomes valuable when you’re charged with probation violation. Get legal education about felony probation laws, know your constitutional rights, and work with trusted criminal attorneys from Snader Law Group who will fight for you and do their best to get a favorable outcome. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.