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What is a probation violation, and what are the consequences?

For people charged with a crime, the criminal court proceedings are sometimes only the start of them having to deal with the law. If they are found guilty of the charges placed against them, they might be sentenced to serve probation. While probation does give you some freedom, there are still rules that you are bound by in accordance with Maryland law. If you happen to disobey these rules, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, you might face a probation violation.

What is a probation violation?

A probation violation occurs when you don't follow the terms of your probation. This can occur through a variety of means. Because most probation terms require you to report to your probation officer, failing to do so is a probation violation. Failing to pay fines, not paying restitution, failing to appear in court, traveling out of state, being arrested, committing crimes and having dealings with drugs are other examples of probation violations. In some cases, even speaking to certain people or visiting certain places might constitute a probation violation. Some probationers have special probation guidelines, so it is important for all probationers to fully understand the guidelines and potential consequences of violating those guidelines.

What are the consequences of a probation violation?

The consequences of a probation violation vary greatly. One option the court has is to revoke your probation, which means you will serve the rest of your sentence in prison or jail. The court can add more time onto your probation, order you to serve time in jail, perform community service, pay additional fines or go through certain programs. The sentence of a probation violation is determined only after a court hearing. During that court hearing, you have the chance to present your side of the story, so properly preparing your defense is vital.

Source: FindLaw, "Probation Violation" Oct. 14, 2014

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