Probation and Probation Violations in California Criminal Cases

Probation and Probation Violations in California Criminal Cases

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People who have plead guilty to a misdemeanor or a felony are often placed on probation.  There are many terms to probation and if all the terms are not complied with fully, a person can be charged with a violation of probation.   As a result, their probation will be revoked; a possible consequence is jail time.


Formal vs. informal probation

Formal probation requires a person to have scheduled meetings with a probation officer.  There may also be scheduled court appearances to monitor the progress of a person.  Depending on the offense, there may be different terms of monitoring.  For example, a person convicted of a drug offense and placed on formal probation may have to have periodic drug tests.  Compare this with a person convicted of a felony DUI that may be ordered to attend AA meetings.

Informal Probation is also known as “Summary Probation.”   Chances are, if you have been convicted for a misdemeanor, you will be placed on summary probation.  Summary probation is not supervised by a Probation Officer.  Instead, the court acts as a probation officer and will call a defendant back into court when he/she fails to comply with a term of probation.  Many times, the probation is for violations such as breaking a law, not doing community service, and not attending classes mandated by the court.


How to prevent violation of probations

It’s quite simple, do what you are asked to do by the court and don’t break any laws.  This is not shocking right?  One of the most common ways to violate probation is to not do the work release, diversion classes, or community service ordered by the court.  Many times people are unable to pay the fees that are required to start such programs.  Other times, people may have an emergency that came up.  Perhaps a family member fell ill, you have no way of transportation, or you have young children that require your constant attention.  Whatever your reason, DO NOT wait until you have passed your date to report to take care of the matter.

If your program requires you to report by a certain date, DO NOT wait until that date has passed and you are on calendar for a probation violation hearing to tell your attorney that you were not able to make the report-by-date because <<…insert reason here…>>.

Compare this with a simple analogy: If you told your mom you were going to be home for dinner at 6pm, do you call at 7pm and tell your mom you have an emergency and cannot make it to dinner on-time?  I certainly hope not.  You call your mom as soon as you find out that you are going to be a little late and explain the situation to her.  In this situation, the court is like your mom, they are much more forgiving to your reasons of missing deadlines when you let them know your situation ahead of time.  This shows the court that you take initiative and that you care about your case.  Believe me, this can go a far way.


Consequences for probation violations

The most serious consequence is that the person in violation of their probation can be looking at jail time.  Depending on the case, the court may add additional time to your original sentence.  The court will send out a notice to the person’s last known mailing address and ask him/her to appear in court to address the probation violation.  If you don’t show up, a bench warrant may be issued.

Do not wait until it is too late to address your legal problems.  If you are having problems complying with your terms of probation, call the Law Offices of Lisa Wong at 858-609-9664 today to see how we can help you. 


Law Offices of Lisa Wong



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