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What is a probation violation?

 A judge can order probation in lieu of jail time when a person is found guilty of a crime, or a condition of a shortened jail sentence can be probation after an inmate is released. A probation officer is assigned and will give the subject rules and guidelines to follow while on probation. If these rules or guidelines are violated it is known as a probation violation. The probation officer will petition the court for a "violation of probation order". The court will hold a hearing to give the subject a chance to prove their innocence, this is known as an "order to show cause hearing." If the subject is unable to prove their innocence, the probation officer can ask for any of the following;

  • Additional conditions of the probation be imposed
  • Length of probation be extended
  • A period of incarceration, followed by a return to probation

If the subject fails to show up for the court, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. This warrant can be either a misdemeanor or felony based on the original charge in which they were placed on probation. In some cases, the warrant could have a bond amount or could be a capias warrant which means no bond is set. Probation violation warrants typically do not expire and would remain active until the subject is arrested and brought before the court or bonds on the warrant.

The outcome of the probation violation will depend on the severity of the violation, the original charge, the amount of prior probation violations, and the probationer’s criminal history. No case is the same and the outcome of each case will be different. If questions arise an attorney should be contacted to help the probationer. 

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