Probation is a frequently used sentencing option in Illinois, where a judge orders a defendant who has been found guilty of a crime to follow a set of strict rules for a period of time. Generally, probation requires offenders to act lawfully and responsibly, and comply with a variety of rehabilitation and counseling components. Common probationary terms may include reporting regularly to a probation officer, submitting to drug tests, attending mental health counseling, and participating in community service.
A Probation violation generally occurs when you ignore, avoid, refuse, or otherwise disobey these terms. The penalties for violating your probation depend on many factors, including the seriousness of the violation, the existence of previous violations, and any special circumstances that may be involved. Some of the most common types of punishments for violating probation in Illinois include:
A warning. After violating the terms of your probation for the first time, your probation officer may choose to give you a warning rather than reporting the violation to the judge. Typically this occurs if the probation officer deems that the violation was not that serious. In essence, they are choosing to give you a second chance by simply warning you of the potential penalties if you commit probation violation again.
Time added to your probation. However, if you are charged with probation violation and ordered to appear in court, the judge may decide to add time to your original probationary period if you are found guilty. For instance, if your original probation sentence was one year, the judge may decide to double it to two years after a probation violation.
Requirements added to your probation. Similarly, a court may decide to add further requirements to your probationary sentence, such as demanding that you attend a drug treatment program or anger management counseling.
Fines. The court may order you to pay additional large fines to the court or restitutions to the victims after violating the terms of your probation.
Jail time. If you are found guilty of violating your probation, a court may order you to spend a brief period of time in jail before resuming your probation.
Probation revocation. The court could decide to cancel or revoke your probation entirely, and order you to serve out the remainder of your sentence allowed by law in jail.
New criminal charges. In addition, you may face new criminal charges if the violation of your probation involved a criminal activity. For instance, if the terms of your probation required you to abstain from drug use, you could face both probation violation charges and drug charges if you are found in possession of marijuana.
If you have been charged with probation violation in Illinois, you have the right to the guidance and representation of a top probation violation defense attorney. Your defense attorney can help you understand your rights, and examine the circumstances of your unique case to determine any potential charge reductions or alternative sentencing options.
If you have not yet been ordered to attend a probationary hearing, your lawyer may be able to speak with your probation officer to persuade him or her to let you off with a warning. And if you are required to appear in probation violation court, your defense attorney can defend your rights and freedom with compassion, aggression, and expertise.
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.