A criminal conviction can upend your entire life. In many cases, you may need to complete probation before you can begin to move forward. However, not many people know what to expect when it comes to fulfilling the terms of their probation sentence.
At Pincus Goodman, P.C., we want to help you understand how probation works in Virginia. The more you know about the court system and the probation process, the better equipped you will be to transition back into your life.
What Is Probation?
Probation is a form of punishment for someone convicted of a criminal offense. A judge may place a person on probation in lieu of incarceration. Probation is generally granted to individuals convicted of misdemeanor offenses. However, a judge can also grant probation in felony cases for some non-violent offenses.
There are two types of probation:
- Unsupervised – Unsupervised probation means that an individual is not required to meet with a probation officer regularly. Generally, the terms of unsupervised probation stipulate that the individual must follow all state and federal laws. Essentially, the person is expected not to get in trouble again.
- Supervised – Supervised probation means an individual is required to regularly check in with their assigned probation officer. This officer must monitor the individual’s compliance with the terms of their probation. Supervised probation can be low-level or intensive. Low-level supervision means an individual is generally only required to check in by telephone or meet with their probation officer monthly. Intensive supervision requires an individual to meet with an office more frequently. These meetings can occur in the community, at the probation officer’s office, or both.
What Are the Rules of Probation?
The terms of probation can vary. Generally, a judge will impose certain requirements on an individual. These requirements may depend on the nature of the person’s criminal offense. Some of the most common rules of probation include:
- Not breaking additional state or federal laws
- Regularly meeting with a probation officer
- Allowing a probation officer to check in with the individual at their home
- Not possessing a firearm
- Not using illegal drugs or substances
- Submitting to regular drug or alcohol testing
- Avoiding contact with the victims of your criminal offense
- Not leaving the state or country without permission from the court or probation officer
- Paying all court fees
- Paying all fines
- Maintaining employment
- Attending court hearings
- Completing community service hours
What Happens If You Violate Probation?
Typically, your probation officer has discretion over what steps should be taken if you violate the terms of your probation. Minor infractions or first-time violations may result in a warning. Serious probation violations could land a person in jail. The most common consequences of probation violations include:
- Extension of an individual’s probation term
- Additional requirements being added to the terms of an individual’s probation
- Serve a jail sentence before resuming probation
- Revocation of probation for a jail or prison sentence
Probation violations are taken extremely seriously. You need to be well informed about the terms of your probation and what your probation officer expects of you.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Need more help understanding how probation works in Virginia? Contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney with Pincus Goodman, P.C. Our knowledgeable attorneys can protect your rights and prepare you for what’s ahead. You don’t have to navigate the complicated legal system on your own.
At Pincus Goodman, P.C., we believe you deserve effective legal representation. Contact us online or call our office at (757) 301-9634 for a confidential case review. Let our team help you from start to finish.