Common Types of Probation Violations in New Jersey
After being convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey, the court could place you on probation instead of sentencing you to jail or prison time. What happens when you violate the terms or conditions of your probation?
This post reviews the different types of probation violations, their consequences, and how a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you.
Common Probation Violations
Since each probation may involve different restrictions, there is a wide variety of ways you could violate your probation. The most common types of probation violations in New Jersey include:
- Visiting Restricted Areas or People
In some cases, the court may order that you be prohibited from contacting the victim. If this provision was included in your probation conditions and you contact the victim, it would constitute a probation violation.
- Not Completing Community Service
As a part of your probation, you may be required to complete a set number of hours of community service within a specified period. Failing to do so could be considered a probation violation.
- Missed Appointments With Your Probation Officer
People on supervised probation are required to check in with or personally visit their probation officer regularly. If you miss an appointment, your probation officer could report this violation to the court.
- Not Finding or Maintaining Verifiable Employment
Some courts will order you to get a job or enroll in a school program during your term of probation. Should your probation officer find that you have not done this, you may be found guilty of a violation.
- Committing a New Crime
Engaging in criminal activity while on probation is considered a probation violation. Everything from a serious offense to a speeding ticket could violate the terms of your probation.
- Controlled Substances
It is a violation of your probation to use or possess any controlled substance. This includes illegal drugs and prescription drugs for which you do not have a valid prescription. Possessing paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, etc, may also be a violation of your probation.
- Failing to Complete Counseling
In some cases, the court may order you to attend counseling or some other rehabilitation program. If you fail to complete these court-ordered programs, you will be in violation of your probation.
Violation Hearings and the Consequences of a Violation
If you are reported to have violated your probation terms, you will be required to attend a Violation of Probation (VOP) hearing. Such hearings are determined in one of two ways: you can plead guilty to the violation(s) or go through a trial with no jury where the prosecution presents a case against you.
The judge in a VOP trial has broad discretion over the penalty for a probation violation. Depending on the violation, you might face one of the following sentences:
- Rehabilitation – If your violation is drug-related, the court may require that you attend a rehabilitation program.
- New probation restrictions – You could also receive additional restrictions as part of your penalty.
- Probation extension– In some cases, the judge may extend your probation period
- Probation revocation and imprisonment – Severe violations could cause the judge to revoke your probation altogether and sentence you to a term of incarceration or state prison. You can be sentenced up to the maximum time in prison allowed by statute for the crime for which you were convicted.
Talk to a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have violated the terms of your probation, you will need an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer to defend you at your VOP trial. Attorney Matthew V. Portella has been fighting for the rights of criminal defendants for over 25 years. Contact him today at 856-245-5912 to schedule a consultation.