When you’re convicted of or plead guilty to a crime, sentencing may involve jail or probation. Also called “community supervision”, probation might be preferable to prison, but it still has its difficulties.
One of the biggest challenges of probation is the possibility that it can be revoked. What does that mean, and when does it happen? Read on to find out.
Probation in NC: What Is It?
When a judge hands down a sentence, they have the option to pass a suspended sentence and place a person on probation for a period of time. Certain restrictions and conditions must be met during that time in order for the sentence to be considered served.
In North Carolina, there are two types of probation. They are:
Regular appointments are kept with an assigned probation officer.
The probation officer monitors your compliance with the conditions set by the judge. It’s likely that if you’re on supervised probation, you’ll need to get approval from the court for out-of-state travel. You may also be required to submit to drug tests or searches without a warrant.
Unsupervised probation often doesn’t involve a probation officer. The offender simply has to abide by the terms of the probation. Common terms include not being arrested for another crime during the probation period, drug screenings, or payment of court costs.
What Can Cause Probation Violations?
There are many ways to violate a probation agreement with the court. Each case is subject to the specifics of that probation agreement, but in general noncompliance to the terms will count as a violation. The most common include:
- Missing a court date
- Missing an appointment with a probation officer
- Failing to pay court costs or restitution to victims
- Failing to complete community service hours
- Going to court-prohibited places or being with court-prohibited people
- Failing to maintain employment
- Committing another crime while on probation
NC Consequences of Probation Violations
When someone is found in violation of their terms of probation, they go before the judge. If it’s decided that you did, in fact, violate probation terms, the consequences depend on circumstances surrounding the particular case.
Sometimes, probation is merely continued on the same terms. Other times, the terms are changed, and you’ll be expected to abide by additional requirements. Your probation can also be extended for several years or, at the other end of the spectrum, be terminated without any other conditions.
The most dire consequence is having probation revoked. This means that the agreement between the court and the convicted person is void, and you must go to jail or prison to complete the sentence.
You are allowed to have legal representation at probation hearings. If you do violate your probation, it is a good idea to secure an attorney. They can help defend against the worst-case scenario of probation revocation.
Understand your rights and what is required of you on probation so that you can stay out of jail, complete your sentence, and move on with your life.