Although probation offers convicted offenders a chance to avoid fines, jail time, or both, it comes with a set of terms and conditions to which they must adhere. While on probation, defendants can work, study, and live in their community, provided they obey and satisfy the conditions of the law. Violating the terms of probation in Charlotte comes with harsh penalties, as will be discussed in this article.
What Constitutes a Probation Violation Charge in Charlotte, NC?
As the prison populations in the United States continue to rise, lawmakers have become more open to providing sentencing and incarceration alternatives. If you are convicted of a criminal offense, incarceration is one of the harshest sentencing a judge can hand down. Fortunately, a grant of probation provides a middle way.
When negotiating a plea agreement in a case involving less severe and non-violent offenses, your defense attorney can try to secure unsupervised or supervised probation. This typically involves a suspended sentence for both a misdemeanor and felony case. As aforementioned, you, as the defendant, must comply with imposed terms and conditions or risk going to jail or spending some time in prison. You might be wondering if you can request probation for your entire sentencing.
The answer is yes, but there’s a caveat. While you may be eligible for probation, it doesn’t mean you can get it. However, you can request probation at sentencing before a judge or bargain during plea negotiations for the prosecutor to consider or recommend probation. In some cases, the law dictates who is eligible for probation. For example, a defendant convicted of a sexual offense or has an unsavory criminal history (repeat offender) is unsuitable for probation. Other factors a judge may consider when giving probation include:
- The defendant’s criminal record or lack thereof
- The potential effect of imprisonment or jail time on the defendant
- A defendant’s level of remorse and attitude toward supervised or unsupervised probation
- The seriousness of the crime and if any person was harmed or there was property damage
Before requesting probation, it’s vital to consult with a Charlotte probation violation lawyer to determine how serving jail time or probation will affect you in the future.
How Long Does Probation Last, and Will I Have a Probation Officer?
Your probation duration and whether you’ll have a probation officer largely depend on where you live. Some states cap probation durations at two years for misdemeanors and five years for felonies. In some cases, defendants can be on probation for the maximum length of incarceration for the offense, which can sometimes mean 10 years to life. Defendants on unsupervised probation, also known as informal or inactive, don’t have probation officers.
Instead, they report directly to the court, especially with misdemeanor cases, to prove completion of conditions, such as community service and fine payment. If you’re on supervised probation, you’ll have a probation officer to whom you report directly, via phone, or by email. Probation typically ends on a set sentencing date, but if you adhere to the probation conditions and remain crime-free, a judge may consider granting early termination.
In addition, if you complete your probation, a judge can expunge your criminal record. Your records can be sealed, erased, or limited to public access, depending on the nature of your prior convictions. To ensure you finish your probation ‘rehabilitation period’ without a hitch, here are some of the terms and conditions to follow that are tailored to your specific offense:
- Obey all state laws, including imposed travel restrictions, if any
- Report to your probation officer or judge as directed without fail
- Look for and maintain work, seek vocational training, or finish school
- Perform community service and pay all court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution
- Abstain from drug or alcohol use and submit to testing when your probation officer requests
- Agree to random searches of your home and vehicle to check for drugs and weapons. As a probationer, the Fourth Amendment does not protect you against arbitrary searches and seizures
A Charlotte probation violation attorney can help clarify how probation works in your district while explaining the various probation violations you’re most likely to encounter. It’s very easy to violate the terms and conditions of your probation, particularly if you don’t quite understand what is at stake. What happens when a defendant violates probation conditions?
Consequences of Violating Probation in Charlotte, NC
While minor violations are not enough to warrant a revocation, significant and intentional violations of more than one probation condition can result in additional punishment. But if a violation was not your fault, it won’t lead to a probation revocation. For example, you got sick or your car broke down leading to a missed appointment with your probation officer. The judge has a wide discretion regarding the type of punishment to enforce, while also considering recommendations from your probation officer.
If the court determines you’ve intentionally broken stipulated probation orders, a judge can impose new terms and penalties, such as extending the duration of your current probation. Fortunately, if you’ve been accused of violating your probation conditions, a seasoned probation violation lawyer in Charlotte, NC can help you dispute unsubstantiated probation violation charges.
Speak to a Charlotte Probation Violation Attorney at King Law
Probation revocation proceedings aren’t criminal trials. However, it would serve you well to consult the services of an experienced probation violation attorney in Charlotte, NC who has firsthand knowledge of dealing with court judges, prosecutors, and probation officers. A probation violation and subsequent revocation can seriously harm your chances of rebuilding a new life after committing a crime.
In case you’re concerned about violating your probation requirements, visit one of our King Law in North and South Carolina. You can also speak with an expert criminal defense attorney as soon as possible by calling us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING or filling out our contact form to schedule a comprehensive consultation.