Caught Violating Your Probation: What Happens Next?

Legalby Mashum Mollah17 June 2019


After a conviction, it’s possible to receive probation instead of going to jail or after being released from jail. During the probation period, it’s vital to follow all rules to avoid a violation. However, if you do end up being caught violating probation, you should expect the following to happen.

Warning or Ordered to Appear for a Hearing:

When someone violates the terms of their probation, the probation officer has a few different options. They may decide to give a warning if the violation was minor, but they can also decide on a probation violation charge. If they charge the person with a probation violation, the person will need to appear in court for a hearing. What the probation officer will decide depends on a variety of factors, such as what the violation was and whether the person has received warnings in the past.

Go Through a Court Hearing:

If the probation officer decides to charge the person with a probation violation, they will need to go through a court hearing. The judge will listen to the charges as well as any evidence that proves or disproves the probation violation. Unlike criminal charges, probation violations can be decided on a preponderance of the evidence. This means the prosecution only has to prove that it is likely a violation occurred, not beyond a reasonable doubt like a criminal charge.

Sentencing for Probation Violation:

With sufficient evidence against them, the person may be found guilty of probation violation. When this happens, they will need to go through sentencing. Similar to criminal charges, they will go before a judge who will decide what the punishment may be. State statutes can limit the punishments, but they can include a variety of different penalties. A lawyer may be able to help the person minimize the sentencing they’re facing by encouraging the judge to provide a lighter sentence, but the person will receive some sentence if they are found guilty of violating the terms of their probation.

Possible Sentences:

There are a variety of sentences a judge can hand down if someone is found to have violated probation. Some of the different types of sentences can include the following:

  • Community Service – Community service means spending a certain amount of time volunteering in the community. The person will typically have different volunteer options to choose from so they can pick something they can enjoy.
  • Fines – Fines will vary based on the original crime, the violation, and the judge’s discretion. There will typically be a limited amount of time to pay the fines in full.
  • Jail Time – If the person is accused of a serious violation of their probation terms, they may be required to spend the rest of their probation period in jail. Judges can also sentence the person to a shorter jail term, followed by more probation.
  • Increase Probation – It’s possible for the judge to lengthen the probation period instead of sentencing the person to jail. The probation will not end until the new probation period is over.

If you’ve been given probation after a conviction, it’s crucial to follow all terms of the probation carefully. If you are ever accused of a probation violation, you may need to go through another hearing and could receive another sentence if you are found guilty. Talk to a lawyer about your situation today to learn more about what to expect if you’ve been caught violating your probation.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at

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