What Happens If I Violate Probation in Virginia?
In Virginia, a defendant may end up on probation if they receive a suspended sentence or after they have been released from incarceration. The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) notes that defendants must strictly comply with the terms of their probation. Failure to do so could lead to very serious consequences. If you violate probation, you must take immediate action to protect your rights. Here, our Richmond probation violation lawyer explains the most important things you need to know if you are accused of violating probation in Central Virginia.
Two Categories of Probation Violations: Technical and New Law
Not every probation violation is the same. As explained in the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines, probation violations generally fit into one of two broad categories:
- Technical Violations: A technical probation violation is a failure to comply with the specific terms of your release. Some examples of technical violations include failure to attend a meeting with a parole officer, missing a court date, or not paying a fine.
- New Law Violations: As a general rule, defendants given probation are also required to avoid committing any future criminal offenses—meaning if you are arrested on fresh charges, you will not only face those charges but will also likely trigger a ‘new law’ violation of your probation.
What are the Penalties for Violating Probation
As every case is different, the consequences for violating probation can vary widely. The specific penalties that a defendant will face will depend on a number of different factors. The most important issue being the severity of the violation. Though, other factors certainly matter as well. As an example, when a defendant makes a quick and proactive attempt to address and remedy the violation, they are likely to face reduced penalties.
In some cases, minor technical probation violations will be resolved with only a warning. In other cases, a violator will be given an opportunity to resolve the matter. Still, that is never guaranteed. It is important to recognize that punishment for violating probation can be substantial. Under Virginia law (Code of Virginia § 19.2-306), a violation could lead to the immediate revocation of probation—meaning a defendant could be headed to jail.
Probation Violations: The Preponderance of Evidence Standard
One of the most important things to know about probation violations is that the legal standard of proof is lower than in ordinary criminal cases. Instead of the reasonable doubt standard, prosecutors only need to prove the violation with a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, if a prosecutor can prove that it is more likely than not that you violated the terms of your probation (51 percent likelihood), you can be found guilty of the offense.
How Our Virginia Probation Violation Lawyer Can Help
A former Virginia magistrate, Abraham Del Rio has a comprehensive understanding of probation violation cases. With probation violations, a proactive approach is a must. The sooner you take action, the better off you will be. We are ready to help. Among other things, our Richmond, VA violation of probation attorney will:
- Conduct a detailed review of the alleged probation violation;
- Answer questions and explain your options;
- Look for opportunities to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level; and
- Devise a legal strategy to protect your rights and keep you out of jail.
Contact Our Richmond Probation Violation Attorney For Immediate Assistance
At Del Rio Law PLLC, our Virginia criminal defense lawyer has deep experience representing clients facing probation violations. Whether you are facing a technical violation or new law violation, we can help. To set up a free initial phone consultation, please contact our law firm today. With an office location Glen Allen, we serve clients throughout Central Virginia, including in Richmond, Henrico, Mechanicsville, Ashland, and Short Pump