School is out for winter break. Businesses hours fluctuate to accommodate staff appreciation parties and holiday vacations. People are traveling across the country to be with loved ones.
It’s the holiday season, and for many, that means it’s time to kick back and celebrate. That said, no matter how good you’ve been all year, when you’re on probation, that isn’t completely the case for you.
We often see an uptick in probation violations this time of year. Sometimes, probationers aren’t even aware they are violating their probation at the time.
Let us help you understand what constitutes a North Carolina probation violation, and next steps in the case one happens. We’ll also let you know when it might be best to have an experienced NC attorney on hand.
Common Holiday Probation Violations in North Carolina
While the terms of your probation will likely include a number of requirements specific to the outcome of your case, there are a laundry list of common probation terms, and there are three specifically that are often violated during the holiday season. Let’s take a closer look…
Traveling Without Talking To Your Probation Officer First
When you meet with your probation officer, you should let them know how you are doing and if you are traveling (or plan to). Traveling out of state without permission could result in a PV charge. Even if you are going to visit family for Christmas, you’ll need permission first.
Talking To People You’re Not Allowed To Talk To
You may not be allowed to contact, speak with, or even be in the same room with certain people. This is common in cases of domestic violence or child abuse, but that’s not all. If you were in a gang, for example, you may be ordered to stay away from current members. Say you wind up at an event where someone you didn’t know would show up but they did (and you’ve been ordered to steer clear), their attendance could result in charges against you.
Using Controlled Substances
Holiday parties don’t just have people that you’d rather not see. They might also have alcohol or drugs that are off-limits. Many offenders, especially those convicted on drug charges or DUI, are required to stay sober throughout their probation. Fail a drug test (or simply forget to take one) and you may hear from your probation officer sooner rather than later.
Know the Terms of Your North Carolina Probation
If you’re not entirely sure what the terms of your probation are, it’s time to check in with your probation officer. Probation terms may vary depending on the nature of your conviction and how the judge in your area handles probation.
In general, offenders must obey the following rules to stay on good terms:
- Refrain from committing any more crimes
- Pay any required fines, restitution, alimony, or child support
- Appear in court or meet with your probation officer at required times
Understand your terms inside and out to avoid dealing with a probation violation first thing after the holidays. Here’s what that may look like…
What Happens When You Violate Your NC Probation
If your probation officer finds out that you traveled out of state without permission or violated any other term of your probation, they will be in charge of what happens next.
In many cases, probation officers will spread some Christmas cheer and let you off with a warning. If this is your first probation violation, or it was a clear case of miscommunication, you may be able to count yourself lucky. You won’t have to go to court, but you might get a stern talking-to from your PO.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case every time. Your probation officer might believe that your violation is serious enough that you need to take it to court. If you’ve violated your probation more than once, you’ll also likely get charged.
About Probation Violation Charges in North Carolina
If you’ve been in court for criminal charges, you can pretty much expect a similar process for probation violation charges. You still have the right to legal counsel and to have your case heard in front of a neutral judge.
The biggest difference between criminal and probation violation charges is the amount of evidence needed for a conviction.
Prosecutors only need to prove that the likelihood of you committing the violation is over 50%. If it’s more likely than not that you violated your probation, you might face sentencing.
When found guilty of violating probation, offenders aren’t often automatically sent to jail. Sentencing depends on the severity of your violation and whether or not you’ve violated probation before.
However, you will at least face additional terms of your probation, including community service, fines, or a longer amount of time on probation.
Violated probation over the holidays? Reach out to a North Carolina defense attorney. They can help you fight probation violation charges and get you back on track toward the end of your sentence.