What Can Happen if I Violate My Probation?

Violation-of-ProbationIf you have been placed on Probation this means that you either plead guilty to a felony, or were found guilty after a trial of a felony, and received a sentence of Probation from the court.  A sentence of Probation is the sentence that you receive just short of going to jail.  The court will require that you do certain things such as get a mental health evaluation and follow all treatment recommendations, get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow through on any of their recommendations, perform community service or SWAP, get a high school diploma, or whatever other conditions that the court may require.  Every case is different and the terms of the Probation will vary from case to case.  While you are on Probation you cannot violate the law and you must appear for every court date and for every meeting with your Probation Officer.  Plus, you must pay all the fines, fees and court costs.

If you plead guilty to a misdemeanor, or were found guilty of a misdemeanor after a trial, the judge could sentence you to Court Supervision, Conditional Discharge, or convict you of the misdemeanor.  If you receive Court Supervision or Conditional Discharge, you will be sentenced to a period of Probation that will usually be supervised by the Social Services Department.  The Judge will also impose conditions to the Supervision or Conditional Discharge which could be like the requirements placed upon those who receive Felony Probation.  If you are convicted of the misdemeanor and sentenced to Misdemeanor Probation, the same Probation Department that monitors felony Probation will monitor your Probation.

When you are sentenced to Probation, or to a Probation type sentence for a Misdemeanor, just before you are sentenced, you will plead guilty to the charges.  This is very important to remember because if you do not successfully complete your Probation then you cannot go back into court and challenge the criminal charges against you.  You have already plead guilty so the issue of your guilt or innocence is closed.  By pleading guilty you admitted that you did what you have been charged with and you are giving up your right to go back to court and fight the charges.

The job of the Probation Officer is to monitor your progress and inform the court of any violations.  If you Violate your Probation the Probation Officer has a duty to inform the court that you violated your Probation.  This is done by filing a Violation of Probation Petition in court, mailing it to your last known address, and setting a court date for you to appear in front of the judge to answer to the allegations.  It is very important that you appear in court at the first court date with a lawyer.  At that hearing, the judge will review the paperwork filed by the Probation Department, and determine whether there’s a valid reason to believe that the allegations in the petition are true.  At that point, the judge can pretty much do whatever they want to do.  Most of the time, the judge will set a bond.  You will have to post a bond or you will be held in custody in a County Jail until the next court date.  If you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer with you in court, that lawyer may be able to avoid having the judge set a cash Bond on your case and continue it for a period of time for you to get back on track and try to get your probation requirements on the right track.

If you and your lawyer are unable to get the Court, Prosecutor, and the Probation Officer to agree to give you another chance to complete your Probation, then the Violation of Probation will have to go to a hearing. A hearing for a Violation of Probation is much less formal than a formal trial that determines guilt or innocence.  You are not entitled to a jury and the judge can consider hearsay evidence to determine whether the allegations in the Petition to Violate your Probation have been proven.  If the court finds that you are guilty of a Violation of Probation, then the judge is free to sentence you to whatever they could have sentenced you to when you originally plead guilty to the criminal charges.  If you received TASC probation or 410 or 1410 Probation, the Court may revoke the Probation and place a conviction on your permanent criminal record.  The judge can extend your term of probation, end your probation unsatisfactory, or sentence you to jail time.

If you are being charged with a Violation of Probation, it is very important that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to handle such matters.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know what to say and how to say it.  When you are being accused of a Violation of Probation, the cards are stacked against you.  The only thing that will save you from going to jail is if you have a good, experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to handle these delicate matters.

Chicago criminal defense lawyer James Dimeas has been handling Violation of Probation matters for over 25 years throughout Cook County, DuPage County, and Kane County.  If you are facing a Violation of Probation in Cook County, DuPage County, or Kane County, call Chicago criminal defense lawyer, James Dimeas, for free and confidential consultation.  He can always be reached at 847-807-7405.  James Dimeas can help you.

Additional Resources:

Illinois TASC Probation:  20 ILCS 301/40-5.

Illinois “410 or “1410” Probation: 720 ILCS 570/410.