Have you been given a probation sentence in Illinois?
Probation is often tacked on to a jail sentence and served after your time in jail is finished. It can also be an alternative sentence to jail time. You can live with freedom on probation – as long as you meet all the requirements under Illinois law.
You probably already know that. You have to follow the rules of your probation, and if you violate them, you can suffer consequences – including having to serve the original prison sentence associated with associated with your conviction.
What if you don’t know exactly what your probation terms are, though? How can someone violate their probation?
In this post, we’re going to cover some of the most common ways that people in Illinois violate their probation so that you can avoid these acts. Remember, though, every probation is a little bit different. If you do not understand the specifics of what is expected of you, consult with a knowledgeable Chicago criminal attorney.
You will face serious consequences if you commit any of the following acts while serving a probation sentence.
Failing to Report
The law requires that you check in with your probation officer and make a report. If you do not report to your probation officer at the scheduled times, you could face severe penalties. You may receive a warning for the first violation, but you should expect legal consequences for any other failures to report.
Failing to Pay
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be required to make payments for court fees, fines, or restitution to the victim. Illinois law requires you to pay on time and in full. Failure to pay what you are required is a violation of your probation.
Failing to Complete Other Requirements
The judge may have issued special requirements in your probation sentence, such as completion of courses, counseling, community service, or treatment programs. If you fail to complete the requirements in the time period assigned by the court, you can face consequences for a probation violation.
Failing to Obtain or Retain Employment
In some cases, the judge may require that you find or keep a job while you are on probation. You will need to show proof of work, such as pay stubs, to your probation officer in order to fulfill these requirements. Failing to keep a job or find new work can result in legal consequences.
Failing to Appear in Court
Your probation officer will tell you when you must appear before the judge during your probation sentence. In these required meetings, no one else can appear on your behalf. Failure to appear at these meetings will cause you to be held in contempt of court.
Committing a New Offense
Hopefully this is obvious, but during probation, you cannot commit another crime – regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. A violation could mean legal consequences for both the probation violation and the new offense.
Producing Positive Drug Test Results
If your original offense involved the use of a controlled substance, part of your probation requirements may be regular drug screening. If you test positive for alcohol or drugs during these screenings, you will be in violation of your probation terms.
Again, these are not the only ways that someone can potentially violate their probation. Make sure you know the terms like the back of your hand and work hard to follow them – and if you don’t, get in touch with a skilled attorney as soon as possible.
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.