What Happens if I Commit a Crime while on Probation?


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Probation is often the best outcome when a conviction occurs for criminal offenses, and any crime that occurs during this period may lead to severe consequences. The person may find himself or herself before a judge again, or he or she may need to explain the issue to his or her probation officer before going to jail.

The circumstances of probation provide the individual with a suspended sentence when he or she receives a conviction in a court of law. The probation takes effect and removes any other sentencing so that the person may remain in public outside of prison. The provisional freedom holds a promise that the citizen will remain and stay clear of criminal activity during his or her probation. Any violations of the terms and conditions of this suspension of sentencing could incur severe consequences up to and including a continued previous sentence such as a return to jail or prison.

Probation Violation Consequences

The consequences of violating probation often depend greatly on the circumstances, the previous violations and if the situation would increase or decrease the severity of the incident. Often, the violation will incur fines, longer probationary periods or a trip back to jail or prison depending on how serious the factors are. To commit a violation to probation, the individual would need to ignore, evade, reject or disrupt the terms and conditions of the probation granted to suspend the sentence. A probation officer may provide details and give a recommendation on what action to take based on the situation.

Possible Violations and Consequences

It is possible to commit a crime while still in the probationary period that suspends a continued or previous sentence. These may occur with or without the knowledge of the person engaging in the activity. He or she may commit any other crime while on probation and violate the terms. He or she could also not pay any court-ordered fines that need payment or refuse or stop payment for restitution for victims of his or her criminal actions. He or she could violate the condition of probation through leaving the state or by an arrest for another offense. He or she must also report to the appointed probation officer at the scheduled time and place to avoid the violation.

Consequences may include fines, counseling, a warning, jail or a continued sentence from before probation took effect. The fines are often extensive or severe and may increase other fines or add to them. Counseling is usually only an available option if the person commits a crime such as consuming drugs or engaging in behavior that warrants the need for counseling services. A first offense may provide the ability to receive a warning, however, the probation officer does not need to provide any warnings. Jail and prison terms are often the most used form of consequence. The person may return to his or her previous punishment in jail or prison and carry out the rest of the term.

The District Attorney's Office

There are many possible outcomes that the probation officer has available, but if the District Attorney’s office becomes involved in the matter, the person on probation may find his or her previous sentence continued. Criminal activity is usually the catalyst necessary to the reinstatement of a jail or prison term. Any new punishments for the additional crime will usually add to and lengthen the previous judgment. Probation revocation occurs, and the prosecuting lawyers may seek more severe action. This may occur for one or multiple conditions violated when the person is within the probationary period that suspends the sentence.

Through the District Attorney's Office, the person may face a Motion to Revoke or Adjudicate Probation. Then, a warrant for an arrest issued against the perpetrator will see him or her taken by local law enforcement. Held in a county jail to start with, the person may not have a bond available until the trial commences. It is at the trial that a judge will decide if he or she will revoke the probation. Additional time in confinement is possible, and no time served through the probation period will take the months or years away.

Legal Defense in Additional Crime during Probation

It is important to hire a lawyer when the person on probation receives charges of another crime. He or she will need to prove that he or she did not commit it, and legal defense through a criminal defense lawyer becomes crucial in these situations.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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