What Is Considered a Probation Violation?

Probation is a type of legal sentence given to people convicted of crimes. Probation may follow a prison sentence or the completion of a drug treatment program. During the probationary period, the offender must avoid committing other crimes. A person on probation also has to follow specific restrictions imposed by a judge. These restrictions may include abstaining from alcohol, avoiding contact with the victim of the crime, submitting to random drug tests, and avoiding travel outside state lines. Violating the terms of a probation agreement typically results in arrest and confinement in a jail or prison. There are a number of actions that qualify as probation violations.
Failure to Report
People on probation typically have to report to a probation officer at least once per month. During this meeting, the probation officer asks questions about the offender’s employment status and living current legal cases situation. Some probation departments use the monthly meeting as an opportunity to administer drug and alcohol tests. Failure to report for this meeting is considered a probation violation.
Failure to Comply
Someone who is on probation must comply with the instructions of his or her probation officer. If a probation officer asks a person to report to the office or submit to a drug test, the person must comply or risk being arrested for a probation violation. Failing to meet the conditions of probation is another type of probation offense. If a judge orders an offender to complete 100 hours of community service, failing to complete this requirement may result in the person’s arrest. Many courts impose fees, fines, and other financial penalties. Failing to pay these costs is another probation violation.
Some states, such as Florida, require offenders to obtain a high school diploma if they do not already have one. Failing to attend classes or make other efforts to obtain a diploma is a violation of established probation conditions. Some probation requirements depend on the type and severity of offense committed. Someone convicted of drunk driving might have to enroll in an alcohol treatment program or take a class on the dangers of drunk driving. Failing to do so is a probation violation.
Criminal Offenses
Committing other crimes during a probation sentence is a probation violation in all 50 states. It does not matter whether the crime committed is a misdemeanor or a felony. Committing any crime, from shoplifting to assault, gives a probation officer cause to arrest an offender. Someone convicted of committing a crime while on probation may face harsher penalties when sentenced, especially if the person has been convicted of multiple offenses. In some states, even minor traffic offenses are considered probation violations. Speeding, driving without a valid vehicle registration, operating a vehicle with an expired inspection sticker, and other minor offenses may result in an offender’s arrest.
Living Arrangements
Most states prohibit offenders from living with other convicted criminals. Some people, particularly sex offenders, are prohibited from living within a certain distance of schools, parks, and playgrounds. If an offender knowingly resides with a convicted criminal or ventures into a prohibited area, he or she risks arrest. Some states allow offenders to complete boot camp programs or other programs to avoid going back to jail. In other states, committing this type of violation is grounds for imprisonment.
Other Violations
There are a number of other ways to violate the terms of probation. Owning or possessing a firearm, associating with known felons, failing to inform a probation officer of a new help with family court address or change in employment status, and using a computer when it has been prohibited are all examples of probation violations that could lead to additional penalties.

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