Articles Posted in Probation Violations

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Southern California, that does not mean you have been convicted. If there is no conviction, you will not be facing any type of sentence. If you have either entered a plea of guilty, or no contest, then you have been convicted of a criminal offense. Similarly, if you have gone through trial, and have been found guilty of a criminal offense, then you have been convicted. After the conviction, there is generally a sentence. Most sentences, not all, but most, consist of the following components.

Jail Time

Many offenses will consist of jail or prison time. It is important to note that jail or prison time is not a part of a sentence in every offense. There are many offenses that will not require any jail or prison time. A jail sentence is any time served that is one year or less. Prison time is any time that is served beyond a year. Whether or not you are asked to serve a jail or prison sentence will be determined by the facts of your case and your criminal background. Most often violent crimes, felonies, or second or more offenses will include some time in prison or jail.

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In Part One of this blog, we discussed that there are two types of Probations; informal and formal. Further we started with a break down of the different types of ways probation can be violated. As stated in Part One, and reiterated here, a probation violation is its own separate charge. It is not a warning or an enhancement to another charge. It carries with it, its own case number, as well as its own sentencing. Having clarified that, let’s continue to explore the different ways probation can be violated.

  1. Failure to complete community service

Very much like the failure to complete classes, community service is a part of sentencing that must be completed in a timely manner. The court may give a date for the person sentenced to appear before the Court and confirm that they have completed their service, or the program they have used will submit a completion form to the Court for their records. If the person is required to appear, and fail to do so, a bench warrant may be issued against them for their arrest.

Ex. Dina has been charged with petty theft. The court offered her the option of paying restitution and a fine, or completing community service. Not having any money, Dina opted to complete 60 hours of community service. The court gave Dina a year to complete her service. After a year, Dina had only completed 45 hours, and did not finish her requirement. The program she was working with never submitted a proof of completion, as her service was not done. The court issued a probation violation against Dina.

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If you have been arrested and convicted for a Los Angeles Criminal Offense, chances are as a part of your sentencing the Judge ordered probation. There are two types of probation in a criminal case; informal and formal. If you have been ordered to have formal probation, it means that you must report to a probation officer regularly, and there are certain other restrictions against traveling, and substance use or otherwise. If you have informal probation, you do not have to check in with an officer, but there are certain stipulations, such as not committing another crime during your time on probation, that will be a part of your probation orders.

It is important to understand that a probation violation is its own offense. It is not a warning, or a citation, but can be a misdemeanor offense that must be dealt with like any other criminal offense. Oftentimes, it will come along with another offense such as petty theft or a DUI. Let’s consider a few ways that you can violate informal probation.

  1. Committing another crime

When a person is charged with a criminal offense in Los Angeles it is likely that as a part of their sentence, they will be put on probation. The probationary period is generally about 3 years on a misdemeanor and is usually informal probation.

There are two types of probation violations. An external violation and an internal violation.

Let’s consider some examples.

Many of our clients believe that a probation violation is a minor charge and does not require the need for a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer. This is absolutely untrue. In fact, a probation violation requires the need of a legal expert as much as, if not more, than other criminal charges because it can potentially affect future criminal proceedings.

When you have been found guilty, or have pled guilty for a criminal charge, you will be given a sentence. More often than not, part of that sentence is probation. There are two types of probation; summary probation and formal probation.

Formal probation requires that you check in with an officer and report your activities. Summary probation is informal and does not require that you check in with anybody, but that you do not get convicted or arrested for any additional crimes and that you adhere to laws and procedures. Probation orders can also have specific requirements on each individual person depending on their criminal history and the charge they have been convicted of.

After a person has been convicted of a Los Angeles criminal offense, they may have the option of requested and being granted an expungement. An expungement will seal their records so that it is not accessible to potential employers and educational institutions. In order to qualify for an expungement, a person must have completed all terms of their probation, and must not currently be charged with or serving any part of the sentence of an additional criminal charge or conviction.

If you have a probation violation, you may be ineligible for an expungement. However, with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal defense attorney, you maybe be able to prepare a powerful argument as to why you should be granted an expungement, despite your violation.

The court will take into consideration several different factors. One will be your overall performance during the period of your probation. For example, if there is one probation violation but the person has followed all terms of the probation for the entire period, the Court will take the good behavior into consideration.

When you are convicted for a violation of the criminal code, a part of your sentence will likely by probation. There are two types of probation; informal and formal. Formal probation requires that you check in with a probation officer and follow specific guidelines and restrictions. Informal probation does not require that you check in with any officer but it does require that you refrain from violating the terms of your probation by committing additional crimes or being arrested on suspicion of criminal offenses.

A probation violation is it’s own separate offense, and may carry with it, its own penalty. When you have been charged with a probation violation, you will be required to appear before the Judge and explain your situation. The Judge will then determine whether he will reinstate the probation or if there will be further penalties to the charge.

For example, David was caught shoplifting a nice shirt and was charged with misdemeanor petty theft. As a term of his sentence, he was put on three years of summary probation, which is informal probation. A year or so later, David was caught again shoplifting some pants. The second time he was not only charged with petty theft, but also a probation violation because it was a violation of the terms of his sentence to get arrested again for another criminal offense.

When a person has been charged with a criminal offense, their criminal background will play a big role in the overall outcome of the case.

If the person does have a criminal record, the Court will look to see if the person was on probation at the time the current crime was committed. If the person was on probation, then there will be an additional charge for a probation violation. The Court takes probation violations very seriously and it could add a significantly harsher penalty to the final sentence if the person is found guilty and is convicted of the most recent crime.

If the person is not on probation, but has a prior criminal history, it could still lead the Court to impose a harsher sentence. The potential sentence for each criminal offense is outlined as a range in the statute. Each statute will establish a minimum fine and a maximum fine along with a minimum and maximum jail sentence. Where the final sentence will fall depends on the person’s past criminal history and the facts of the case.

In May 2011, actress Lindsay Lohan was charged and convicted of shoplifting. The Judge sentenced her to 480 hours of community service , to be completed by April 2012.

Lohan was scheduled to complete her hours by providing service to the Los Angeles Downtown Woman’s shelter. However, the Downtown shelter has recently terminated their agreement with Lohan because she has failed to appear for several shifts and on days that she appeared, only completed a minimal amount of hours. According to Los Angeles District Attorney, Jane Robison, her hours will be transferred from the Woman’s shelter to the Red Cross. In addition, Lohan also has 120 hours of janitorial work that she is signed up for at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

To date, the young actress has only completed 21 of the 480 required hours. In addition to not completing required community service hours, Lohan has also not been attending court mandated counseling sessions. Lohan defends that she has missed community service hours and counseling sessions because she has been out of the country possibly filming a movie.