If you are on probation in Virginia, you have a lot of rules and conditions that you are expected to follow. These can be quite daunting to remember or understand. You might even face allegations that you violated your probation. This can lead to serious consequences, but you have the right to defend yourself against these accusations. You need an experienced probation violation attorney to explain what you face and provide a customized legal defense for your situation.

probation violation

Our Virginia criminal defense lawyers at Battlefield Law Group PLLC explain how to handle probation violation cases and how to defend yourself. We offer compassionate and dedicated representation for every client, and will put that to work for you.

Common Probation Violations You Want To Avoid

Probation violations are always serious, but there are some common areas where defendants run into trouble. You should avoid common probation violations such as:

  • Failing to Pay Restitution or Fines: It is crucial that you keep up with court-ordered fines or restitution. Failure to pay may be a violation of your probation conditions. 
  • Dirty Drug or Alcohol Tests: Many courts order that you not ingest or possess alcohol or illegal drugs. A failed drug test may constitute a violation of your probation.
  • Failure to Stay Employed: Many judges order that you maintain or seek employment during your probation. Failure to do so may be considered a willful violation of your terms.
  • Missing Appointments or Meetings: Failure to attend meetings with your probation officer, treatment programs, or other scheduled events may be interpreted as non-compliance with your probation.
  • Associating With Known Criminals: A common probation condition is that you not associate with known criminals or felons. This might be difficult, depending on who you live with or are friends with. Your criminal defense attorney can help.
  • Leaving the Jurisdiction: Most probationers are limited to a certain geographical areas, such as the Commonwealth of Virginia or a specific county. Leaving that jurisdiction without prior permission is usually a probation violation.
  • Committing Another Criminal Offense: Committing another crime while on probation is a serious issue and one courts take very seriously. This could be true even if the new offense is significantly less serious than the one for which you are on probation.

Any other non-compliance may also be seen as a probation violation. However, these are sometimes accidents or are unavoidable under the circumstances. Your probation violation defense lawyer can help.

Potential Consequences of a Probation Violation in Virginia

If you stand accused of a probation violation, you need to take your legal defense seriously because of the potential consequences involved. Your probation officer might simply issue you a warning or take internal corrective action. This might include altering your probation conditions within the confines of the existing court order, as many courts grant probation officers a certain degree of flexibility in modifying your probation terms.

The officer may instead require you to appear in front of the judge for a probation violation hearing. You may even be arrested and held while awaiting a probation violation hearing. The judge will then determine if a violation occurred, and may impose penalties such as:

  • Keeping you on probation but imposing additional terms
  • Imposing more restrictive probation conditions
  • Revoking your probation and sending you to prison or jail

You have the right to defend yourself in the probation violation hearing, and hopefully avoid these issues. You might be able to explain why the violation occurred, especially if it was justified for some reason. You may instead be able to reduce the severity of the consequences for your violation, especially with the help of a qualified probation violation lawyer. 

Probation Violation Guidelines in Virginia

If you are on felony probation in the Circuit Court of a Virginia county and receive a Major Violation Report, indicating a violation of your probation, Probation Violation Guidelines will be prepared for your Revocation Hearing. These guidelines are akin to the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines, scoring the offense and circumstances based on historical data and recommending a sentencing range of probation or jail to the presiding judge.

There are three different types of Probation Violation Guidelines forms: Technical Violation, New Crime Committed – Misdemeanor, and New Crime Committed – Felony. For a first technical violation on felony probation, the person will not be recommended for active jail time but rather to have the suspended sentence, resuspended and placed back on probation. 

Types of common ‘Technical Violations’:

  • Failure to Maintain Employment
  • Report within three days of release from incarceration
  • Be truthful and cooperative with probation officer
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages to excess
  • Refrain from use or possession of narcotics, including marijuana
  • Maintain contact with the probation officer whereby his whereabouts are no longer know to the probation officer

If a new crime has been committed while on probation, it is very likely that a person can be facing some, if not all, of the backup time from the underlying conviction. In addition to considering the charges before the court, the court will also consider:

  • Number of Felony Revocation Events
  • Prior Felony Revocation Events Before Original Sentencing
  • Whether the New Charge is Similar to the Primary Offense
  • Whether there is a Drug Violation
  • Abscond or Fail to Sign Conditions of Probation
  • Whether there are New Person or Non-Person Felony Convictions

It is very important that an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney examines the violation and prepares a draft of the guidelines so that you can properly prepare for the revocation hearing and understand the most likely outcomes.

Handle Probation Violations With a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney

At Battlefield Law Group PLLC, we can represent your interests in probation violation cases. We provide customized defenses that fit your unique situation and seek to prevent or reduce the penalties you face. Contact us today for a free consultation.