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Probation is a sentencing option available to Virginia judges in Newport News and other communities throughout the commonwealth. Recognized as a community corrections alternative to jail or prison, probation offers a person convicted of committing a crime the opportunity to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. Remaining free to continuing working or going to school is certainly a benefit of probation, but a violation of the terms of probation can have dire consequences, including re-sentencing with more severe penalties than might have been imposed originally.
The probation and Virginia parole violation attorneys at The Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., have more than 70 years of combined legal experience advising and aggressively defending individuals at violation hearings throughout Virginia.
Probation Violation Examples :
- Missing a Court Date
- Conviction of any Crime
- Failure to Pass Drug Test
- Leaving the State without Permission
- Failure to Report to Probation Officer
- Failure to Pay Fines
What Is Probation in Hampton, Virginia?
Generally, once someone is convicted of committing a crime, the judge presiding over the case imposes a sentence. The law allows the judge to suspend imposing a sentence place the individual on probation. The judge usually imposes conditions of probation, including the following:
- GPS monitoring using a tracking device worn by the individual
- Payment of restitution
- Performance of a specified number of hours of community service
- Refrain from using alcohol and unlawful substances
- Remain within the Commonwealth
- Undergo substance abuse evaluation and participate in counseling
Obtaining and keeping a steady job or participating in program to train for a trade or job are conditions frequently included when someone is placed on probation.
The Difference Between Probation and Parole
People frequently confuse parole with probation or believe they are the same thing. Probation is a sentencing alternative imposed by a judge. Parole is an opportunity for someone already serving a prison sentence to be released early to complete the remainder of the sentence living in the community under supervision.
Parole decisions are made by the Virginia Parole Board and not by a judge as occurs with probation. Only those prison inmates whose crimes were committed before January 1, 1995 are eligible for consideration for parole in the commonwealth.
When someone is accused of violating parole in Virginia, the individual is returned to prison to complete the remainder of his or her original sentence. Virginia parole violation attorneys can request hearings to determine if the conduct of which the individual is accused actually violates the conditions set by the parole board when the individual was released from prison.
How People Violate the Virginia Probation Violation Law
Failing to comply with any of the conditions of probation set by the court can lead to a violation of probation. A person could also be accused of violating probation by failing to comply with conditions set by the probation officer. Common reasons for which a person could be accused of violating parole in Virginia or violating probation include the following:
- Committing a crime while on probation or parole
- Failing to appear in court when ordered to do so
- Refusing to cooperate with a parole or probation officer
- Not reporting to a probation or parole officer as required
- Failing a drug or alcohol test if the conditions of parole or probation prohibit the use of alcohol or illegal substances
- Traveling outside of Virginia without first obtaining permission
- Failing to seek and maintain gainful employment
How Probation Violations Are Handled
Violation of probation is a charge initiated by a probation officer accusing someone of violating the terms and conditions of his or her probation. It is filed with the court, usually the same one where the case was originally heard, and assigned to a prosecutor. As with a criminal charge, the prosecution must present evidence proving the allegations.
Probation officers have discretion when it comes to charging a person with violating probation. Officers can use warnings to deal with minor violations of probation without filing formal proceedings with the court, but when a violation is filed, a person has the right under the Virginia probation violation law to have a formal hearing before any adverse action is taken.
Consequences of a Violation of Probation
Typically, violating parole in Virginia leads to the violator being returned to prison to complete the remainder of the sentence originally imposed. When prosecutors prove someone violated the conditions of probation, Virginia probation violation law leaves it to the discretion of a judge to decide what should be the consequences. For instance, a court do one or more of the following if a violation of probation is proven:
- Extend the period of probation beyond its schedule expiration date
- Order additional terms and conditions, such as drug or alcohol counseling
- Order the violator to serve a short period of time in jail and continue probation supervision when the individual is released
- Revoke the probation and sentence the person to jail or prison
Defenses to Probation or Parole Violations
Skilled and knowledgeable Hampton Roads probation lawyers and Virginia parole violation attorneys utilize defense strategies designed to aggressively challenge the accusations and evidence supporting the violation. Effective defenses include:
- Proof showing violation was unintentional or happened by mistake
- Presentation of facts and evidence proving the violation never occurred
- Challenge the reliability of alcohol and substance testing
- Showing nonpayment of fines or restitution caused by not having sufficient income
When a probation violation is based upon the use of alcohol or illegal substances, an attorney might present evidence from experts to prove the individual has a substance abuse problem that requires additional counseling and treatment instead of incarceration.
A judge might be persuaded to order that the individual be admitted to an in-patient treatment program and continue probation supervision when the person is released.
Hampton Roads Probation Violation Attorneys
Whether someone is charged with a parole or probation violation of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach or other location within Virginia, seasoned criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., have the skills and legal know-how to be capable of offering the best opportunity for defending against violations.
We have four convenient Hampton Roads locations in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Chesapeake and Newport News servicing the surrounding cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Smithfield, Poquoson and Williamsburg and the York, James City and Gloucester counties. Find out more about what they can do by calling them at (757) 896-0868 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.