Probation is usually given as an expression of leniency toward the person convicted of a crime. Sometimes probation replaces jail time as a punishment. However, if you violate the terms of that probation, serious jail or prison time can result—including even more jail time than your initial sentence.

When faced with possible jail or prison time, probation is a much more appealing option for most people. It is usually given as a sign of leniency towards the person convicted of a crime. Even if you did not commit the felony you were convicted of, or the conviction was weak, you still must take your probation very seriously. If you violate your probation for a felony offense in Arizona, the legal system does not take it lightly. It’s important to understand the consequences of violating the terms of your probation.

An Arizona judge could place you on stricter probation or order you to serve time in jail or prison. Oftentimes your probation violation for felony offense is easily explainable. Having experienced legal representation to help guide you through this process is imperative. Without it, you may face harsher probation terms or time behind bars.  Take the right steps to ensure your freedom. If you’ve violated your probation following a felony conviction, contact a Phoenix criminal defense attorney at Belén Law Firm for a free consultation.

What is Felony Probation?

With a felony criminal conviction, judges have the power to impose prison time and/or fines and probation. Felony probation is an alternative to a prison sentence in some felony cases. Instead of serving time behind bars, the offender can serve their sentence under supervision, out of custody, and in the community.

If a judge assigns probation, he or she can suspend the offender’s prison sentence. They can also place the accused on probation without giving prison time. Someone who is on probation must follow certain probation conditions decided by the court. Conditions of probation may include but are not limited to:

  • Not drinking alcohol
  • Taking regular urinalysis tests
  • Appearing when required
  • Not possessing a firearm
  • Completing counseling
  • Refraining from speaking to someone if you’re ordered not to contact them
  • Pay court fines, fees, restitution, or community service
  • Wear a security monitoring device

A probation officer supervises the offender. During probation, the offender must follow the terms declared by the court or probation officer. The offender could face prison time if found breaking these terms of probation.

It’s important to note that parole and probation are not the same things. Probation is given prior to or instead of the defendant going to prison. Parole, now called Community Supervision, is designed to allow someone who has served prison time to reenter society.

The most common probation violation is called a “Term One” violation, also known as a substantive violation. This means that the defendant allegedly committed a new crime while on probation. So, not only did the defendant violate their probation, but they are also now likely facing charges for a second offense on top of their underlying offense (original crime). It’s very important to contact and hire a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to aggressively fight a Term One or substantive violation.

What is a Probation Violation for a Felony Offense?

People convicted of a felony and sentenced to probation are given a list of terms and conditions. If you fail to abide by any of the terms and conditions within the period of time that you are on probation, that is considered a probation violation for felony offense, or “technical violation”.

The burden of proof for the prosecutor for a probation violation is a much lower standard. The burden of proof for a criminal charge is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which requires lots of evidence and/or testimony. For probation violations, the prosecutor only needs a “preponderance of evidence,” which is easier to prove.

What Happens After I Violate My Probation for a Felony Offense?

If the court, your probation officer, or police officers become aware of your violation of a condition of probation, they may issue an arrest warrant in your name. (See our blog: Do I Have a Warrant in Arizona? How to Check) You will be required to appear back in court. Before the violation of probation hearing (VOP hearing), you might be held without bond pending the court’s decision, which may largely be based on your prior criminal record.

The first court date is a probation violation arraignment. Here, the state must show the defendant violated the terms of probation with a preponderance of evidence. The defendant either admits to the violations of probation or sets a case for a VOP hearing.

Having an experienced attorney during this process is extremely important. The attorneys at Belén Law Firm can meet with your probation officer in order to work out a probation violation disposition. A probation violation disposition is similar to a sentencing. It’s then possible to have the probation violation arraignment and probation violation disposition at the same time.

At your probation violation arraignment and/or probation violation disposition, the judge has the option to:

  • Issue a warning and reinstate the original probation terms
  • Modify the probation terms
  • Place the defendant on Intensive Probation
  • Revoke probation and order jail or prison time

Intensive Probation is a very strict form of probation. It orders the defendant to stay at home when not at work and contact the probation officer before leaving the house for approval. It is similar to house arrest.

For any type of probation, including lifetime probation, standard probation or intensive probation, the probation officer can come over to the defendants’ house often and demand a urine or breath test. If the probation officer arrives at the defendant’s house and he or she isn’t there, the officer can file a petition to revoke the probation.

What is the Punishment for Probation Violation?

The punishments vary depending on the original crime you were convicted of and the severity of your probation violation. The judge will take into account whether your original offense was for a nonviolent crime or violent crime in Arizona. They will also take into account the danger you may pose in the future. For example, standard probation with computer terms are usually reserved for those accused of sex crimes in Phoenix.

Is There Jail or Prison Time for Probation Violation?

Yes, it is possible to go to jail or prison for violating your probation. Having an experienced attorney can help you avoid this if it’s possible. Without legal defense, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate the arraignment and disposition process. The attorneys at Belen Law Firm work hard to help you avoid serving time behind bars whenever possible.

Can a Probation Violation be Dismissed?

In some cases, it is possible to have a probation violation dismissed. This is possible if there was a technical problem with the allegation. A technical problem might occur if the report was not filed until after the case expired. It can also happen if the defendant allegedly violated a condition that was not actually part of their terms of probation. It’s possible that a probation violation for felony offense could be rolled into a plea negotiation. In this case, the state might not go forward on a violation of probation charge if the defendant pleads guilty to a new criminal offense.

Call a Phoenix Probation Violation Attorney at Belén Law Firm Today

If you have been charged with a violation of felony probation and seek representation, contact Belén Olmedo Guerra today. Belén offers aggressive defense for those accused of even the most serious crimes. For a professional and dedicated Phoenix probation violation attorney, you need Belén Law Firm. Call 602-715-0908 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation today.