How Do People Commonly Violate The Terms Of Their Probation?

The two most common ways that I see people violating their probation is by committing a new violation of the law, and by not paying their fines as previously ordered by the court. Of these two ways, the most common is people getting new charges while they are on probation. It may be an offense similar to one they’ve already committed, or it may be a completely different offense.

What Is The Burden Of Proof For Motions To Revoke Orders Of Probation?

In order for an individual to be convicted of a new charge, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed that offense. A lot of people are familiar with the term “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the highest burden in our legal system. In regards to probation violations, the burden is preponderance of the evidence, which is a low level of burden that the state or city will have to show in order to prove a probation violation. Essentially, preponderance of the evidence boils down to the question of whether it is more likely than not that the defendant violated their probation by committing some act. So, preponderance is the key here.

What Can Someone Expect If They’ve Been Charged With A Probation Violation?

There are different ways that someone can be charged with a probation violation. First of all, it can be out in the field, like if someone is on felony probation and they have a probation officer. In Utah it’s called Adult Probation & Parole (AP&P). This is pretty intense, high-level probation. The probation officer can visit their home and place of work, search their car or their home, and have them take a drug test. If they find a violation of their probation, they can be put in handcuffs and taken to jail. They will be held for a minimum of 72 hours until the case gets before a judge. At that time, the probation officer would have to fill out an affidavit requesting an order to show cause to be filed with the court.

The judge would review it, and if the court approved an order to show cause with the issue, then there would be a hearing date scheduled. That person could possibly sit in jail until that hearing. If they are found to have violated their probation by committing another felony, then it would be what they call “felony on another felony.” If you were out on probation for a felony and then you commit another felony, you don’t get bail. Instead, you sit in jail until both the new felony charge and the probation violation is resolved.

If someone is on misdemeanor probation, they might have to meet with a probation officer once a month to check in with them and make payment of their fines. Sometimes they will do random drug and alcohol testing. On those cases, you typically see that they are not arrested immediately. The probation officer will file an affidavit requesting an order to show cause, and if the order to show cause is granted, the court will schedule a hearing. They will serve them an order to appear, and explain why they may or may not have violated their probation. Typically, the court will attempt to serve them at their last known address. They will send them a summons to be at court at a particular time and place. If they do not show up to court, then a warrant will be issued.

There is also court probation, in which no probation officer is involved. The court clerk reviews the file at the end of the probation period and looks to make sure that everything that the court has ordered is done. If it’s not, then they will send out a notice ordering that person to appear in court. That’s pretty standard, but there are some courts that don’t give notice that the person has violated the probation, especially in some of the smaller misdemeanor level courts. If they get an affidavit to show cause, they will just automatically issue a warrant. If someone is on probation and seeing a treatment provider, it is really important for them to follow through with the court to ensure that they have received the necessary documentation from that treatment provider. Otherwise, a simple clerical error could result is the issuance of a warrant without that person even being aware of it.

If Someone Violates Probation While On A Diversion Program, Does It Mean They Will Be Reverted To Their Original Sentence?

If someone is on a diversion program and they admit to violating their probation, a world of potential consequences could ensue. It means that the diversion agreement is no longer valid, the conviction will be entered, and the judge will sentence accordingly to the original crime that was charged. We do diversion agreements to avoid convictions from being reported to the client’s insurance company and to the driver’s license division. We also do it to avoid having their employer discover the conviction. A violation of a diversion agreement reverses all of that. So, it’s very important to have an attorney when dealing with alleged violations of diversion agreements.

For more information on Probation Violations In Utah, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 309-6966 today.

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