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What happens if you violate a probationary period?

If you find out that there could be a motion to revoke probation because you violated probation in some way, it could be a serious threat to your well-being. You already began looking into finding work, have been doing your best to stay out of trouble and haven't done anything that you believe should mean you go back to court (and potentially prison).

A single violation doesn't necessarily mean that you'll face a revocation of probation. However, the probation officer may advise the court that it's best to have a hearing, especially if the violation was serious.

To revoke probation, there is a process that has to take place. Revoking probation is at the discretion of the court, but if you've violated probation in a significant way, the judge may decide to send you to prison instead of risking your violating your probation agreement again.

Why do judges choose probation over prison?

The primary reason is because it's a better way to rehabilitate those who commit crimes. Probation limits what you can do but also gives you a chance to continue to work, go to school and participate in community service. You may be able to get help for addiction or mental health problems, too, instead of being left in a prison cell.

Probation is also important because it allows you to face the consequences of your actions in a fair manner while still protecting the rights of a victim. Probation is usually strict, which means that it's less likely that you'll go on to commit a secondary criminal act. In most cases, only low-risk or first-time offenders end up on probation, but others may qualify in some instances.

What happens if you violate probation?

If you violate probation, there is a chance that you could have a hearing to revoke your probation. If the court is going to have a hearing, you'll receive a notice letting you know that there will be one and when you should come to court. You have a right to speak in court and may have witnesses testify on your behalf. Additionally, you have a right to receive a written document stating why probation may be revoked.

It is important that a neutral hearing party oversees the case. If you believe that a judge or other party involved in the case is not neutral, then you may wish to speak with your attorney about requesting changes before the hearing.

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