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Probation Violation - PC 1203.3

Probation is a suspended jail term that allows the offender the opportunity to remain in the community. It requires that you follow the orders given by the court and the rules given by the probation officer. Under the Californian laws, there are two types of probation:

  • Formal probation and
  • Informal probation

Under the formal probation, an individual is required to register with the Adult Probation Department of the county where a probation officer is assigned to oversee the supervision over the probation period.

At the start of the probation period the meeting with the probation officer on a regular basis, like once a week or month. But, over time the meeting will be less frequent once the officer establishes that the individual can perform the probation duties.

On the other hand, informal probation also known as summary probation does not require any registration with the probation department where the accused is supposed to obey all the laws during the probation period.

What is a Probation Violation?

A violation of probation occurs when you act contrary to the conditions set out in your probation order. The penalty for violation of probation varies widely depending on a number of factors like:

  • The extent of violation,
  • History of previous violations, and
  • Other circumstances that could lead to severity of the situation
  • Therefore, based on the type of violation the penalties could be
  • Extended probation,
  • Sentence to serve a jail term, and
  • Heavy fines

Probation violation laws are governed by state statute. Usually, a probation violation occurs when you disregard some or all the terms and condition of the probation, which include ignoring, refusing and avoiding what you are required to do under your probation term.

Probation periods vary from a few months to several years depending on the severity of the first offense. In California, a typical probation would last for three years although longer terms are also possible. After successful completion of the requirements of the program, you could have your probation terminated after two years.

What would qualify as probation violations?

  • Failing to appear in court when you are required to,
  • Failing to respond to the probation officer in the scheduled place or time,
  • Failing to pay fines as ordered by the court, this would include restitution fines to the victims,
  • Traveling out of the state without the consent of the probation officer or visiting certain people ordered by the court not to associate with,
  • Having in possession or selling illegal drugs,
  • Engaging in other illicit activities or crimes, and
  • Getting arrested for a different offense and it doesn’t matter if it is criminal in nature or not.

What happens when probation is violated?

The probation officer in charge has the discretion to issue a warning or have you appear in the court to answer probation violation charges. The probation officer may request for a penalty for your violation that may include a jail term.

If you are on informal probation, you may learn of the violation when a new case is filed and the court advises you.

The judge will determine the case based on the conditions of the probation and your history. If you are guilty, then sentencing would follow, which may be additional probation or a serving a jail term depending on the severity of the violation.

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