Probation Violations & Effective Defenses

When a person is charged with a criminal offense in Santa Rosa or anywhere in the North Bay, it is likely that as a part of their sentence, they will be put on probation. The probationary period is generally about 3 years on a misdemeanor and is usually informal probation.
There are two types of probation violations. An external violation and an internal violation.
Let’s consider some examples.
Jimmy is charged and convicted of misdemeanor drunk and disorderly conduct. As a part of his sentence, he is required to pay $1200 in fines, and complete 10 hours of community service. Further, he is ordered to not commit any additional crimes during his probationary period or his current sentence may be increased.
An external violation would be if Jimmy was subsequently arrested for a North Bay Driving under the Influence. As part of the order, Jimmy was ordered not to commit any additional crimes. Having been charged with Driving under the Influence, he may have violated that order. If he is convicted, then the sentence for the Drunk and Disorderly conduct may be increased, and Jimmy will also be charged with a probation violation.
An internal violation would be if Jimmy failed to pay the fine that was ordered, or complete the community service. Because Jimmy was ordered, as part of his sentence, to pay a fine of $1,200.00 and to complete community service, he is required to do that. If he fails to do so, he is in violation of his probationary terms. An extension can always be requested, but it needs to be done properly with the Court.
There are defenses to internal violations of probation. For example, let’s say that Jimmy sent a check for $1,200 to the court but the check got lost in the mail, or didn’t get properly recorded as received. Then Jimmy did not fail to follow the order, it just didn’t get completed like he thought it did. Providing proof to the court of a copy of the check, or the date stamped envelope he mailed is a good defense.
Let’s say that Jimmy did complete his community service, but the organization he completed the community service with failed to show proof of completion to the Court. This can be remedied by Jimmy obtaining the proof and providing it to the Court personally.
A probation violation is not a minimal charge. It can be an additional offense, and can add to the sentence for the original offense.
If you are facing a situation where there is a misunderstanding and you are being summoned to court for a probation violation, keep in mind that there are defenses available to you.
To learn about what you can do to get that additional charge dismissed or reduced, contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC as soon as possible at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

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