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Everything You Need to Know About Probation Violations in TN
What is Probation?
Probation is a type of sentencing that allows those who have been convicted of a criminal offense to receive a somewhat lenient penalty, or it can be used as one part of a jail sentence for more serious crimes. In many cases, probation is given to first-time offenders or those who have committed non-violent crimes. Sometimes, jail time can be completely avoided with a probation sentence.
However, probation doesn’t mean that you are completely free. There are certain rules that might restrict your movements and keep you under surveillance.
Probation requirements generally can include the following:
- Regular contact with your probation officer
- Complete programs and community service
- Pay fines
- Not using alcohol, drugs, or firearms
- Stay within a geographical location and away from specific people and places
- Make court appearances
- Obey even the most minor laws
Probation violation is an offense that occurs when you break the terms or conditions of your probation. The consequences regarding probation violation often depend on various factors, such as the nature and seriousness of the violation, whether you have any previous violations, and whether there are other circumstances that may lessen or worsen the seriousness of the situation.
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What is Probation Violation?
In general, a probation violation happens when you avoid, ignore, refuse, or otherwise break any of the terms or conditions of your probation at any time during the probation period. Probation often runs from one to three years, but may also last for several years (depending on the original criminal offense).
Circumstances that may result in a probation violation include the following:
- Failing to appear during a scheduled court hearing on a set date and time
- Failing to report to your probation officer at the scheduled place and time
- Possessing, using, or selling drugs
- Not paying any required fines or restitution (to victims) as ordered by a court
- Visiting certain places and people, or traveling out of state without the permission of your probation officer
- Committing other criminal offenses
- Getting arrested for another crime
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU VIOLATE PROBATION
The consequences for violating your probation depends on the violation itself. Your probation officer has considerable discretion, so they can either issue you a warning or report you to the court where you will be called to face a probation violation hearing.
During a probation hearing, a sentencing judge will hear your case to consider whether you violated any terms or conditions of your probation. The prosecutor must prove a violation occurred by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, or by a likelihood of over 50 percent. A penalty can be based on several factors, such as the length of time you served on probation, your record with that officer, and the seriousness and type of violation you committed.
As far as punishments are concerned, you may end up serving the penalties that you might have originally received for the original sentence. Furthermore, you could get a reinstatement of the original terms of your probation, more time on probation with even stricter conditions, or the maximum jail or prison sentence from the original charge.