If you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, you’re not completely off the hook. Sure, you won’t be putting on an orange jumpsuit, but your probation officer and law enforcement officials will be keeping an extra close eye on you.
This is incredibly important to remember, because if you are caught violating your probation, the penalties you face may be even worse than those from your original charge. Probation in Illinois comes with a variety of terms based on the crime you committed, but if you’re on probation, you can pretty much guarantee that there is something in your probation terms about refraining to commit another crime.
Perhaps someone forgot to tell that to 20-year-old Kiyree D. Collins, because within hours of receiving probation, he was arrested again.
Last September, Collins was charged with disorderly conduct for calling in bomb threats to Alton Middle School and Alton High School. He began serving jail time in November when he was arrested. On February 10, he received his sentence for the incident. He was to serve two years probation and he would be released after serving 134 days in jail.
Later that day, Collins was at the JCPenney of the Alton Square Mall. According to police reports, a security guard tried to stop Collins from stealing merchandise from the store, and Collins fought back. Four days later, Collins was charged with aggravated battery. He has since posted bond and has been released, but faces time in court.
Probation Violations in Illinois – Not Always Quite So Obvious
What does this story teach us? Some might say that the lesson is not to get in an altercation with a mall security guard hours after you’ve been sentenced to probation. However, while that lesson is (hopefully) an obvious one to most people, there are plenty of far less obvious ways that people violate the terms of their probation in our state.
As we mentioned earlier, probation is not always the same. After all, it might make perfect sense for someone convicted of assault and battery to have to complete anger management courses as part of their probation, but the same thing probably isn’t the case if a person is convicted of fraud. In some cases, probation may even include things like going to school and getting your GED, or paying child support.
Here’s the frustrating part. When you are sentenced to probation, the judge may or may not tell you all of your probation terms. Something like “don’t commit another crime,” for example, may be omitted because it is very commonly used as a probation term.
What if what the judge thinks is obvious isn’t so obvious to you, though? Luckily, the terms of your probation will be in writing. Your job, then, is to review them as soon as possible. This can be done with your probation officer upon your first or second meeting, but a lawyer may be able to go over them with you even faster.
Penalties for Probation Violations in Illinois
Most likely, when you are sentenced to probation, you have no desire to step in a courtroom again. Unfortunately, probation requires a lot of effort to stay out of jail and prove that you are a law-abiding citizen. If probation terms are not completed, or if you violate your probation, you may feel as though your efforts were a waste of time.
The legal process after you violate your probation is outlined here. If you are convicted of violating your probation, the judge has a few options for sentencing. He or she may not add any additional time or terms to your probation, but instead just give you a warning.
Or they might modify your probation. Modifications, like the original terms themselves, will depend on the probation violation and the original crime that was committed. Less severe penalties like additional community service or rehabilitation programs may also be added.
The last option is for the judge to revoke your probation. When your probation is revoked, you may be sentenced to spend time behind bars. Most probation violations lead to time in a county detention facility, but more serious facilities may be involved if you committed a crime.
When it comes to how much jail time you may serve for a non-criminal violation, a judge will typically look at your original conviction. If you were on probation for a misdemeanor, it is unlikely that you will spend time in prison for more than a few months.
For his probation violation, Kiyree D. Collins may go back to jail within a few days of being released. Jail time is not uncommon for individuals who have violated their probation.
If you have been sentenced to probation, carefully review the terms of your probation with both your probation officer and your lawyer. If you have been charged with probation violations, get on the phone with a lawyer immediately. It is possible to defend against these charges and have them dropped from your record, but you have to act fast.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.