Probation Attorney

If you are accused of a probation violation, contact experienced San Diego probation attorney Elliott Kanter to discuss your situation immediately. It’s best to seek legal assistance early on in the process so you have a team of criminal defense lawyers on your side right from the beginning.

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San Diego Probation Attorney

One of the sentences frequently imposed on convicted felony and misdemeanor criminal offenders in California is probation. Probation is a conditional release that may be imposed instead of or subsequent to incarceration. Any failure during the probation period to adhere to the court’s conditions is a violation of probation or “VOP.” If you are found guilty of a VOP, you can be sent to jail (or back to jail) and face additional criminal penalties.

What is the Difference Between Parole and Probation?

Probation is often confused with parole, but the two are very different. Probation is offered to defendants as an alternative to jail time after being convicted of committing a crime, while parole is granted after serving time in jail. In effect, the parolee is serving the remainder of his sentence outside of prison. A violation of the conditions of his parole may constitute grounds for reincarceration. In both probation and parole, the defendant is required to follow certain rules and requirements.

The Advantages of Parole

There are many advantages to parole. It costs less to supervise a parolee than to incarcerate a prisoner. A person on parole has an opportunity to change his ways and contribute to society. At the same time, society still receives some protection because the parolee is supervised and the privilege can be revoked at any time even for the most minor misbehavior. Parole is also a method of rehabilitation because it gives convicts supervision and guidance during their re-entry into society.

Parole eligibility depends primarily on what type of sentence the inmate received, and how “good time credit” will be applied to that sentence. Inmates who are sentenced to the California state prison for a specific amount of time or a determinate sentence are automatically placed on parole once they are released. On the other hand, those who are sentenced to state prison for potential life sentences are eligible for parole after they serve the determinate part of their sentence and only after the parole board determines that they are ready to reintegrate into society.

Good time credit allows inmates who behave while in prison the opportunity to serve only part of their sentences. There are two classes of inmates who are not eligible to earn any good time credit: those who were convicted under the “murder” law, and those who have been previously convicted of and incarcerated for two or more felonies. Individuals who fall under these categories must serve their entire determinate sentences before being paroled.

Complying With the Conditions of Probation

During probation, the defendant is allowed to be released in the community but he is required to follow certain rules, perform certain tasks and may have to report regularly to a probation officer.  Failure to comply with these requirements can result in probation violations hearing where the defendant is sent to prison or given new burdensome requirements.

California Penal Code Section 1203 gives a judge discretionary power when imposing probation requirements. As long as the requirements logically relate to the offense for which the defendant was convicted, the judge can impose any conditions he/she may deem necessary to serve the purpose of the law. Of course, if the conditions seem too strict or burdensome, the defendant is always free to reject the probation sentence and to serve a prison sentence instead.

Common Requirements for Probation

Some of the most commonly imposed probation requirements include:

  • a mandatory restitution fine,
  • a restraining order (if your offense involved California domestic violence or another act of violence),
  • abstaining from alcohol and/or drug use and possible attendance in a drug or alcohol program such as AA or NA(if your offense was drug or alcohol-related),
  • not driving with any measurable amount of alcohol and not refusing to submit to a chemical DUI blood or breath test (if placed on California DUI probation),
  • installation of an ignition interlock device or a SCRAM ankle bracelet (generally imposed in connection with a multiple offense DUI conviction)
  • “search conditions” (a provision in which you agree to allow the police to search your person or property at any time with or without a California search warrant)
  • individual or group therapy,
  • community service or Cal-Trans roadside work, and
  • an order not to violate any additional laws.

How Do I Complete My Probation?

In order to successfully complete your probation, you must complete a few steps. Below are the steps necessary to complete probation.

1. Complete the Terms of Your Probation

Every individual has different terms to their probation, including the length of the probationary period and other checkpoints along the way. You are required to complete the entire terms of your probation to be eligible for expungement in most cases.

2. Attend All Mandatory Court Appearances

You will have court orders to appear a few times during your probation. You must attend all of these court orders to be able to complete your probation and be eligible for expungement.

3. You Must Not Commit Any New Crime During Probation

If you commit a crime or have a new offense during your probationary period, you are likely not going to be eligible for expungement.

What Happens if I Violate the Terms of Probation?

In the case of probation violation, there will be a hearing where the prosecution must prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence and not guilt beyond reasonable doubt as in the original criminal offense. Upon determination of a probation violation, the court may revoke the probation and send the violator to prison. In the alternative, the court may make probation requirements more restrictive or assess additional penalties such as more community service. Don’t go to a probation violation hearing without an experienced criminal defense attorney who can disprove the accusations that you violated the conditions of probation.

Completing Probation in San Diego

In California, if you are sentenced to “summary” probation, your task is easy. Complete your probation and avoid any more criminal charges. If the probation is “formal,” you report monthly to a probation officer, and you must satisfy all of the requirements of your probation. Violations may include any failure to appear in court or to pay restitution to a victim as ordered: missing meetings with your probationary officer or failing to finish court-ordered community service or rehabilitation; driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your bloodstream; failing to avoid known criminal acquaintances; possessing illicit drugs or illegal firearms; or committing any additional crime(s).

What are the Penalties for Violating Probation?

The penalties for violating probation in San Diego County can depend on a number of factors. If it’s a minor violation, you’ll probably get another shot at probation. If the violation is more severe, you could be placed behind bars or scheduled for a probation violation hearing. Make absolutely certain, if you are ordered to appear at a VOP hearing, that you are accompanied by an experienced attorney from one of the top law firms in San Diego.

Experienced Parole Attorneys in San Diego

The attorneys at our law firm have over 40 years of experience defending clients in criminal cases. Our practice areas include assault and battery, juvenile offenses, theft crimes, expungement, sex crimes, fraud, and drug crimes.

Call attorney Elliott Kanter to discuss a VOP case or to learn more about probation and parole in California. You can also fill out the form on this website, or email New and prospective clients are offered a free consultation, so do not wait to make the call. Our office is centrally located at 2445 5th Ave, Suite #350, San Diego, 92101. If you have been arrested or are facing a VOP charge, schedule a consultation in our offices today.

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Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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