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Probation violations shouldn't be ignored

Some people who are convicted of felony crimes aren't sentenced to serve time in prison. Instead, they are given a probation term that must be completed. While you are on probation, you have to follow a specific set of rules. Failing to follow those rules can result in being charged with a probation violation. These charges are very serious because they can mean that you end up heading to prison if you are found guilty of the violation.

You can face a probation violation for several different circumstances. Using or possessing drugs, not showing up for appointments with your probation officer, failing to go to court for a scheduled appearance, not paying fines or committing other crimes are some of the actions that can lead to you facing a probation violation. Essentially, doing anything that is forbidden can land you in more legal trouble.

When you are accused of a probation violation, your probation officer can decide how to handle the situation. In many cases, probation officers can use their discretion to decide if they will issue a warning or if they will file the violation with the court. If they decide to file the violation with the court, the judge is the person who decides if you did violate the probation orders.

Unlike in a criminal trial, which hinges of the concept of beyond a reasonable doubt, a probation violation hearing hinges on the concept of the preponderance of the evidence. That means that if it seems likely that you violated according to the evidence presented, you can be found guilty.

You do have the right to have an attorney present for the probation violation hearing. Doing so might mean that you can minimize the penalties that you face if you are found guilty of violating your probation.

Source: FindLaw, "Probation Violation," accessed June 09, 2016

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