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How Long Will I Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

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How Long Will I Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

How Long Will I Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

Posted in Criminal Law
by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

If you were accused of violating a probation order, you will be given a court date to speak with the judge who determined your sentence or another judge who is in charge of the original judge’s docket. Probation violations are frequently taken seriously by the court for many reasons, such as to protect the judicial system’s integrity, to defend the community, to deter others from violating their probation order and to uphold the offender’s need for rehabilitation. 

Multiple factors influence whether a probation violation results in jail time. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office can review your case so you know what to expect. 

What Determines Whether a Probation Violation Will Lead to a Prison Sentence?

Before sentencing a probationer to jail for a violation, the court must determine whether the defendant actually violated his or her probation order. You have the right to a contested hearing. In this hearing, you are presumed to be innocent, and the prosecution has the burden of proof of showing that you violated the probation. The probationer is also allowed to have an attorney, and you may cross-examine and subpoena witnesses. You may also choose to testify or exercise your right to remain silent. If the opposition cannot prove the violation occurred, you will continue your original probation sentence. 

However, if the probationer pleads guilty or no contest to the accusations, they will receive sentencing by the judge. The judge’s decision is influenced by several factors:

  • The Nature of the Probation Violation. Certain violations are treated with greater severity than others. For example, a new criminal charge is much more serious than a failure to pay court fines. If the violation attacks the judicial system’s integrity, such as tampering with a drug test, then the probationer faces much harsher consequences. Violations that may potentially put the public at risk are also much more likely to be met with severe sanctions, such as if the probationer is charged with a DUI
  • Repeat Violations. In certain circumstances, the judge may allow the defendant to continue with their original probation order even after a violation. However, if this isn’t the probationer’s first offense, the chances of incarceration may increase. 
  • Mitigating Circumstances. The court may consider mitigating circumstances in regard to the violation. For instance, if the probationer missed a meeting with their probation officer due to a death in the family, their attorney can present this issue to the court. 
  • Alternative Sentencing. Rather than ordering jail time, the judge may enact an alternative sentence depending on the probationer’s violation. For example, drug use or mental health issues may warrant rehabilitation instead of a prison sentence if these are deemed to be more beneficial. 

Contact a Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney to Review Your Options

If you were accused of violating a probation order, jail time is a possible sentence depending on your circumstances. However, it is not a guarantee, especially when you work alongside a criminal defense lawyer at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office. We are prepared to protect your rights. Call today for a consultation.

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