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When you are on court ordered probation and do not meet the requirements set forth by the Court, you may be charged with a violation of probation (VOP). It is important to understand a violation of probation is a new criminal charge in and of itself, and the VOP will appear on your record in addition to your original charge or charges. If a defendant is convicted of a violation of probation, the Court will almost always require a jail sentence for the violation. VOP can be a felony or misdemeanor. On a VOP case you don’t get a jury you only get a judge, and the burden of proof is the “greater weight of the evidence.” On a VOP you can be sentenced up to the max sentence of the original charge although max sentences rarely happen. These cases usually take 30 to 60 days. If, for example, you are given a random drug test by the probation officer to whom you are assigned and you test positive for drug use, you will be handcuffed and arrested on the spot. Early attorney intervention may be your best defense. If you think you have violated your probation, it is never too early to hire an attorney. An attorney may intervene on your behalf with the office of probation and parole, the State Attorney's office, and the courts to protect your rights and possibly prevent incarceration.
The supervising agency is the Department of Corrections, which is the same agency that runs the State Prison System. When a defendant is placed on probation, the judge will state the term (number of months or years) and the special conditions. A person on probation (or community control) is required to comply with all of the conditions of probation (both general and specific). If a person on probation fails to comply with the conditions of probation, the Department of Corrections can "violate" that person and request that the judge hold the defendant in jail until a hearing can be set (usually it takes no more than 3 months to schedule the hearing). While being supervised, a person is subject to searches,violations, and court sanctions. All of these can lead to "violations" and incarceration (jail time). As soon as all of the special conditions of probation or Community Control have been completed, a person on probation should immediately hire an attorney to motion the court to terminate your probation or Community Control, as doing so can help to avoid further violations. This is often referred to as Early Termination of Probation; this is a relatively quick procedure, and in most cases these are granted without objection. Special Conditions of probation are those that the judge must announce on the record. These can be community service, paying of fines, completion of counseling, completion of a class, etc. These must all be done before probation can be terminated. Once probation or Community Control is terminated you are no longer subject to court sanctions and the term of probation or Community Control ends.