If you are convicted of a criminal offense, the judge has certain discretion in the sentence you receive, especially if it was a relatively minor charge. Additionally, if you pled guilty, your attorney may also have negotiated with the prosecutor and come to a plea deal regarding your sentence. Many people who are convicted of an offense receive probation in lieu of jail time. Though probation is generally seen as a much more lenient sentence, it does have its challenges and drawbacks.
Terms of Probation
There are several different types of probation, often depending on the offense in question. For example, there is gang intervention probation, drug and TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) probation, and there is regular felony probation. The requirements you must meet depend on the kind of probation to which you are assigned and the probation department’s assessment of you.
For example, some requirements for different types of probation include the following:
- Regular reporting to a probation officer;
- Paying monthly probation fees;
- Random drug or alcohol testing;
- Obeying a curfew;
- Not having contact with certain people;
- Anger management or other types of therapy;
- Holding a job or being in school;
- Getting a GED or diploma; and
- Avoiding arrests or any additional criminal cases.
Even though probation is a preferable alternative to jail time, many of the requirements are stringent and may require a lot of money and time. Also, many offenders unfortunately are tempted to go back to a life of crime, or at least the police suspect they are. For these reasons, many people end up violating their probation.
The Effects of a Probation Violation
If you violate your terms, a judge may revoke your probation and you may be ordered to serve your original jail sentence. For this reason, it is just as important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to represent you at your probation violation hearing as it is for any other criminal matter.
Additionally, many violations stem from recent arrests. If you get charged following the most recent arrest and receive a violation, you will then face two cases: one for the new charge and one for the probation violation. Often these cases take place in front of two separate judges in two separate courtrooms, and you need an attorney who can handle both cases at once.
Though probation violations can add more problems, probation is still a chance for you to avoid jail time after your initial conviction. The best thing for you to do is to abide by all the terms of your probation and, if you are having difficulties doing so, contact a criminal defense attorney to help you communicate with your probation officer.
Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven Goldman today
Steven Goldman is a highly skilled defense attorney who handles all types of criminal matters, including probation violations. At Goldman & Associates, we are committed to getting the best possible outcome for our clients, no matter what type of criminal case they face. You should never hesitate to call one of our offices at 773-484-3131 or 847-215-2600 for help.