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What Happens During a Probation Violation Hearing?

February 14, 2020

There are several possible outcomes to a probation violation hearing.

What Happens During a Probation Violation Hearing?

Probation is part of the sentencing process in California. It may be ordered as an alternative to jail or to reduce the length of your jail sentence. If you are given probation after being convicted of a crime, you will be required to agree to conditions of probation. These terms and conditions may vary significantly depending on the facts of your case. For example, if you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you may be required to abstain from alcohol use and/or attend an alcohol program.

If you violate the terms of your probation in any way, you will need to attend a probation violation hearing. According to a criminal defense lawyer in Kern County, CA, your probation officer or a police officer may arrest you for committing a probation violation, and bring you before a judge. In other cases, the judge may issue an arrest warrant for a probation violation.

During a probation hearing, you have the right to be represented by your criminal defense lawyer in Kern County, CA. You can also call witnesses, present evidence about factors that may have contributed to your probation violation and to testify on your own behalf. The prosecution is required to disclose the evidence supporting the probation violation to you.

In a probation violation hearing, there is no jury. Instead, a judge will hear the case and make a decision about what to do if they find that you violated the conditions of your probation. The prosecutor does not have to prove that you violated your probation beyond a reasonable doubt (as in criminal trials). Instead, they only need to prove that the violation occurred by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., it is more likely than not that you committed the violation).

At the hearing, both the prosecutor and your criminal defense lawyer in Kern County, CA will present evidence about the alleged violation. Hearsay evidence may be introduced, as long as it is considered reliable. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will make a determination as to whether you violated any terms of your probation.

If the judge decides that no violation occurred, then the terms of your probation will continue as before. However, if they decide that you did violate probation, then you will face penalties. The specific consequences will depend on a number of factors, including your criminal history, the seriousness of the violation, and recommendations of the probation department. The judge may:

  • Reinstate your probation on the same terms and conditions;
  • Modify your probation with new terms and conditions; or
  • Revoke your probation, sentencing you to serve out your sentence in jail or prison.

Having a probation violation can make it more difficult to have your criminal history expunged in the future. For this reason — and because of the possibility of being incarcerated if you are found to have violated your probation — it is important to have a criminal defense lawyer in Kern County, CA represent you at a probation violation hearing. Your attorney can present evidence, cross examine witnesses, and argue that you didn’t commit a violation.

While probation is a good alternative to incarceration, it can be a minefield for anyone who is unfamiliar with the specific terms and conditions of their probation. If you have been charged with a probation violation, the Chambers Law Firm can help. Contact our firm today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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