Probation can be difficult to maintain in everyday life. When you throw in the holidays, the temptation to break the rules just a little becomes even more challenging. After all, you don’t want to be left behind by friends and family when they’re celebrating the holidays.
However, violating your probation is never a good idea no matter what time of the year it is. Doing so can have serious consequences, and you could be paying for them into the new year.
Here is what you need to know about being on probation in Colorado, including some of the common rules by which you must abide – and what can happen if you violate them.
Probation: What Is It?
When you commit a crime and are convicted, sometimes you are offered probation instead of time behind bars. You can remain in the community living and working when on probation, but you have to abide by many rules put in place by the court in order to have that freedom. You may also have to regularly meet with a probation officer to ensure that you are following all of the rules.
What Types of Conditions Do You Have to Obey While On Probation?
The court can order a variety of conditions for your probation. The parameters of these conditions often depend on your individual case. In general, there are several types of probation conditions by which you may have to abide, such as:
- Staying employed during probation at an appropriate job
- Going to school
- Undergoing treatment – either counseling or drug treatment, whichever suits your case
- Completing community service hours
- Paying court costs
- Paying probation costs
- Refraining from possessing a firearm
- Reporting to a probation officer as directed
- Remaining in the court’s jurisdiction unless you get prior approval from the court
- Allowing the probation officer to come to your home
- Not using controlled substances or alcohol
- House arrest
- Notifying your probation officer if your employment or residence status changes
- Abiding by a curfew set by the court
- Refraining from committing other offenses while on probation
What Are Common Probation Violations?
With so many conditions frequently set as part of probation, it’s not uncommon for people to violate their probation. You are provided all the details of your probation in writing, so you cannot claim that you didn’t know something was a violation.
A few of the most frequent violations include:
- Neglecting to appear to a meeting your probation officer
- Not passing a drug or alcohol test
- Violating your curfew
- Leaving home when on house arrest
- Traveling out of the county or state without approval
- Being arrested for a new crime
During the holidays these types of violations can increase. After all, this is the time when you see people at festivities with whom you may not normally interact, and you might be encouraged to participate in behavior that you really shouldn’t. Or you might simply want to go with friends or family to visit loved ones who are not in the court’s jurisdiction. If you don’t get approval before those visits, you violate your probation.
What Happens If You Violate Probation?
Under many circumstances, the probation officer is the one who often reports a probation violation to the court. If the violation isn’t serious, you may simply speak to your probation officer to work it out. However, in more substantial cases, a violation can cause your arrest and appearance in court to answer to the judge.
If that happens, the prosecutor can revoke probation since you violated its terms, and you may be sent to jail to serve the rest of your sentence. Your case will then go before a judge, who has the ultimate say.
During this process, called a probation violation hearing, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. It’s sort of like a smaller trial in front of a judge.
Those on the prosecution’s side will present their case to the judge. They’ll submit any evidence collected against you. You and your attorney will then have the opportunity to respond to the case of the prosecution. After hearing both sides, the judge makes the final determination.
In these cases, the judge usually does one of three things:
- They revoke your probation, and you must serve the rest of your sentence in jail or prison
- The motion for revocation is denied, and you simply continue on probation
- You continue on probation, but the judge sets new terms or adds on other conditions to your probation
No matter what time of the year it is, abiding by your probation is important. Don’t let friends or family lead you astray – after all, they’re not the ones whose lives will be on the line, and they don’t risk being incarcerated if they convince you to violate probation. You are the one who pays the price.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.