Probation for a felony offense is considered severe. This page discusses the rules, terms, conditions, and violation laws of felony probation in the United States. Continue reading to learn more about probation violation and guidelines to felony probation rules.
What Is Felony Probation?
In certain felony situations, felony probation is a criminal law alternative to a jail sentence.
Convicted felons are not sentenced to state jail for their crime. Rather, they carry out their sentence:
- out of detention,
- in the neighborhood, and
- under strict supervision
It is worth noting that felony sentencing guidelines allow a judge to impose either:
- a jail sentence, or
If the latter is given, the judge will either:
- suspends the execution of the prison sentence (if one is imposed by the judge), or
- Places the accused on probation rather than sending them to prison
Who Qualifies for Felony Probation?
Many things influence eligibility. Eligibility criteria include:
- The gravity of the felony offense committed (violent crimes vs. victimless offenses),
- whether or not the defendant was armed
- the victim’s personality,
- the extent of the victim’s monetary loss,
- whether the defendant’s offense included a complicated scheme,
- Prior record of the defendant prior to the felony conviction,
- The accused’s perspective on probation, and
- the defendant’s expected reaction to imprisonment.
The defense argues at the sentencing hearing that these reasons lean in favor of providing probation rather than imposing state prison.
The prosecutor could:
- concur, or
- Alternatively, you could argue that prison is more fitting.
The decision is ultimately made by the judge.
Reports from departments
The county probation department must provide the judge with a probation report. Before imposing the sentence, the judge analyzes and considers this report.
The agency assesses the defendant’s eligibility and makes the following recommendations:
- The suitability of probation, and
- probationary period and conditions
- The department conducted the following interviews while preparing the report:
- the alleged victim, as well as
- the officer in charge of the investigation
It should be noted, however, that the final decision on whether to award probation is made by the judge.
The report from the department is a tool for deciding these concerns.
People who are not eligible
Those convicted of certain offenses are not eligible for felony probation.
If a person meets the following criteria, he or she is ineligible:
- He or she has been convicted of a felony, and
- The individual has a past conviction for either:
- a violent felony in violation of Penal Code 667.5 PC, or
- a major felony in violation of Penal Code 1192.7 PC.3
A person is also ineligible for probation if:
- He or she has been convicted of a significant or violent felony, and
- The violation is committed while the person is on felony probation.
- Certain sex offenses may also disqualify a defendant. This is true if the crime is accompanied by aggravating circumstances.
People who are most likely ineligible
According to the legislation, defendants who commit certain other felonies should not be granted probation. Examples are offenses in which the defendant:
- caused serious bodily harm to the victim,
- utilized a lethal weapon,
- In a drive-by shooting, you injured or murdered someone, which is a felony under Penal Code 26100 PC, and
- provided PCP
Felony Probation and Early Termination
Felony probation is often enforced for a period of five years, or 60 months. However, the amount of time a felony defendant is on probation might vary.
If the defendant completes all of their affirmative requirements on time and demonstrates a sufficient rationale for doing so, the court may be persuaded to terminate probation early. These motions are discretionary and rely on the court’s determination that terminating felony probation early meets the purposes of justice.
In some situations, the court may be persuaded after a specific period of time that it is acceptable to lower the defendant’s charge of conviction to a misdemeanor and convert formal probation to a misdemeanor, also known as summary probation.
It should be noted that this is only conceivable in the case of “wobbler” charges – those that under California law can be either felonies or misdemeanors – or if the parties specifically agreed to such a change in a negotiated plea deal.
Felony Probation Rule
The defendant must accept felony probation and the terms that come with it. These requirements vary from case to case and are determined by both the offense activity that led to the conviction and the defendant’s specific features, such as prior criminal history.
The court has extensive authority in establishing probation terms that are intended to aid the defendant’s rehabilitation. However, in felony instances, specific requirements are typically enforced. Among the most typical felony probation conditions are:
- Meetings with the probation officer once a month
- Accept drug or alcohol testing
- Volunteer in your community.
- Take part in psychotherapy or group therapy.
- Submit to probation or police searches
- Restitution and fines must be paid.
- Agreement not to break any laws
Felony probation frequently involves a need to serve county jail time, complete community service days, or both.
While incarceration may occur in the case of a jail time condition, the sentence is still technically probationary rather than custodial. It should be noted that state prison time, as opposed to county jail time, cannot be imposed as a condition of probation.
In the case of community labor conditions, the offender will be required to perform hard labor as part of a court-approved activity, such as CalTrans cleanup work, graffiti removal, or beach cleanup.
In addition, in all felony probation cases, the defendant is required to pay victim restitution as well as mandatory court costs and fees. If the fines and fees are prohibitively expensive, the defendant may request that they be converted to additional community labor days. In the instance of victim restitution, which is usually required as a condition of probation, this is not practicable.
Felony probation typically imposes limits on movement and travel. If the defendant wishes to relocate, the court must grant permission. If they want to travel, they must obtain permission from their probation officer.
Who Pays for Your Monitoring?
You must check-in with your probation officer on a regular basis while on felony probation. The county in charge of your probation supervision will usually charge you a monthly fee for its services. So, even if you’re somewhat liberated, you still have to make monthly payments to keep your independence.
Violation of Felony Probation
A probation violation occurs when a defendant fails to comply with the conditions of felony probation, most notably the requirement to obey all laws by remaining arrest-free while on probation.
The defendant has the opportunity to oppose an allegation of probation violation in a contested hearing before a judge. The court may hear live testimony, review documents, and hear legal arguments from the prosecutor and defense lawyers at this evidentiary hearing.
If a felony probationer is found in violation of the terms of probation, the court has the authority to impose any sentence up to the maximum on the underlying felony crime when revoking probation.
Due to the nature of felony proceedings, a defendant found in violation of formal probation may face significant time in California state prison.
As previously indicated, judges have the authority to reinstate probation on the same terms and conditions or with reasonable adjustments that acknowledge the defendant’s violation while also giving the defendant a second chance to do well on probation.
In these circumstances, additional community service or jail time is commonly imposed. Under California law, if the criminal performs well on probation and completes probation with no infractions, they may be eligible for an expungement of their conviction. This provides a significant incentive to fulfill probation effectively.
Formal probation varies from summary probation in that the criminal is directly overseen by the probation department and must check in on a regular basis. Maintaining a positive relationship with the probation officer is therefore critical to completing probation successfully.
What Is the Next Step in the Probation Violation Process?
After being arrested, you may be held with or without bail, depending on the decision of the court. The judge will then determine what to do with you until your formal probation violation hearing.
Among his or her possibilities are:
- Changing the terms of your probation
- Putting you under house arrest
- incarcerating you until your hearing
You will be given a date for a formal hearing at which the prosecution and your defense attorney will present evidence for the case.
The prosecutor does not need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty if you are charged with a felony probation violation; they simply need to produce enough evidence (or a “preponderance of evidence”) that you likely committed whatever they are accusing you of.
A typical justification for a probation violation is that the violation was accidental. For example, if you didn’t show up to work because the buses weren’t running that day, that may be called inadvertent. However, if you are found using illegal drugs, it will be difficult to explain that it was inadvertent.
Read also: MISDEMEANOR PROBATION: Rules and Guidelines
The judge will issue the sentence for the violation after hearing the case. It might be something as small as changing the terms of your probation, or something as serious as sending you to prison for up to the complete amount of the suspended sentence in our instance. If your violation was caused by you committing a crime while on probation, you may be sentenced for that new offense as well. New laws introduced in 2021 may limit the judge’s discretion to sentence you to jail in your case; examine the impact of these new laws with your attorney.
Can You Have Your Probation Ended Early?
Yes, some criminals may have their felony probation removed early. However, in order to have their probation terminated, an individual must petition the court. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to file a petition with the court on your behalf is the best approach to do this. To have an individual’s probation terminated early in California, he must have completed at least 18 months of his probation, not broken the terms of his probation, and completed the terms of his probation.
For example, if the offender was ordered to pay reparations to any victim(s), he must have completed such payments before the court will allow him to conclude his probation early. In addition, for an individual to have his probation ended early, there must be a valid cause for doing so, such as qualifying for a job or being able to travel freely for work.
Can Your Felony Conviction Be Removed After Completing Probation?
Yes, after completing your probation and sentence, you may be entitled to have your felony conviction erased. Make sure you are not currently charged with any new crimes, that you are not serving a term for a different crime, and that you are not on probation for committing another crime if you want to have your felony expunged.
Do You Want to Be Put On Felony Probation?
Your personal attorney is the best person to answer this issue. However, if you consent to be placed on felony probation, bear the following points in mind:
- If you breach any of the terms or conditions of your probation, you may still go to prison.
- You can breach your probation without breaking any laws.
- Your ability to freely move between counties and states will be limited.
- While on probation, you may be compelled to seek and find employment.
- Law enforcement can search your home at any moment without obtaining a warrant.
- You are not permitted to associate with anyone who has been convicted of a crime or who is currently on probation or parole.
All of this should be considered before deciding to be placed on felony probation. However, you should review your individual terms and conditions to determine what you may and cannot do while on probation. Do not rely on the terms and conditions we have provided because they will differ from yours.
Why Do You Require the Services of an Attorney?
It is extremely dangerous to attempt to defend yourself in cases of felony probation violations in Virginia. For probation violation instances, we strongly advise you to engage a lawyer.
A lawyer will work with and for you, speaking with all parties involved and working behind the scenes to secure you the shortest penalty feasible. If you are caught for a DUI while on felony probation, a lawyer can assist you to get involved in rehab programs, prove that you did not breach probation after all, and even work out new payment plans if your violation involves failure to pay court fees or fines.
Seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.