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Probation violations must be taken seriously

When you are given probation as a penalty for a criminal conviction, you must ensure that you meet all the requirements for the probation program. When you don't meet the requirements, you can stand to face new criminal charges for a probation violation. In some cases, being found guilty of a probation violation can land you in jail and can result in more fines.

There are several ways that probation can be violated. The tie that binds them all together is that you didn't follow the rules of the program. Generally, the terms of probation stipulate that you can't get into any new legal trouble, you can't miss any court dates, you can't miss meetings with your probation officer, you can't use drugs and you can't leave the area without permission.

In some cases, probation terms will stipulate where you can go and who you can associate with. Generally, you aren't allowed to associate with other probationers, felons or parolees. You might be required to stay away from bars and establishments that sell alcohol or are known to house illegal activities.

When you violate your probation, your probation officer can choose how to handle the situation. In some cases, you might be given a warning to stop the behavior. In other cases, you will find yourself in front of the judge again. Unlike other charges, a judge would be the person who determines if you violated probation. You don't get a jury trial for probation violations. That judge would be the person who would hand down your sentence if you are found guilty of a probation violation.

If you are facing a probation violation charge, you should work to understand your options and rights. From there, you can decide how to proceed with a defense for the probation violation charge.

Source: FindLaw, "Probation Violation," accessed July 23, 2015

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