Probation & Parole

Probation and Parole Violations

San Bernardino & Riverside Criminal Lawyer

Parole is a conditional release from prison which entitles the person receiving it to serve the remainder of the term outside the prison, but technically the person will still be under the Department of Corrections. Typical conditions of parole can include periodic meetings with parole officers, foregoing the possession of weapons, and not associating with known criminals.

Probation is ordered by a judge as a sentence in lieu of jail time or imprisonment or in addition to it. Under probation, the individual lives in the community, sometimes under the supervision of a probation officer, for a set period of time.

Penalties for Violating Probation in California

Probation, whether felony or misdemeanor, is essentially a suspended jail or prison sentence. For example, if you are convicted of your first DUI, you likely will receive no immediate jail time, even though the charge carries 6 months in jail. Instead, you will be placed on probation for three years, with conditions attached.

If, however, you commit a new crime or fail to abide by other probations terms during the three years, then the court or District Attorney (DA) can file a petition to revoke your probation. You will then have a court hearing where the court will decide if there is probable cause to believe you violated your probation. The standard is very low, so it is easy for you to be found in violation.

Back to your DUI: Now that you have violated probation in some way, the court can simply send you off to jail for the six months you have hanging over your head from the DUI.

Probation violations work the same way for felonies except that, for a felony probation violation, the sentence will likely be prison instead of jail. When you violate any kind of probation, the court has the option of giving you the maximum sentence hanging over you, or simply putting you back on probation with no additional consequence. This is why you need a good lawyer for a violation. Your lawyer can come up with all kinds of creative ways to get your probation reinstated without you having to go to jail.

Suspended Sentences

When you are placed on probation, you may also receive a “suspended” sentence. Let’s say you are convicted of robbery and a judge finds reason to give you probation instead of state prison. When you plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury, the judge may choose to give you 5 years state prison “suspended” and place you on probation for three or five years with all of the usual terms. If you violate one of the terms, such as not reporting to your probation officer as agreed, a petition will be filed against you violating your probation. With your suspended sentence, though, the judge AUTOMATICALLY sends you away to prison for the full five years! No alternative. For this reason, I rarely advise a client to ask for or accept a suspended sentence. It is very easy to violate one of the 25 odd probation terms and end up paying a huge price.

If you are facing any kind of probation violation, call Mark McDonald at (909) 443-1599. He can greatly minimize the damage.