Information from Hensley Law Firm about probation violations in North Carolina, including the law, potential consequences, and legal issues.
Many defendants convicted of less serious crimes are often placed on probation in lieu of being sent directly to jail or prison. Probation can be supervised (where the defendant must meet with a probation or parole officer) or unsupervised (where there is no probation or parole officer is involved, but the defendant must meet other conditions imposed by the court). If a defendant fails to meet the conditions of their probation, a probation violation may be filed. Absconding (failing to report to probation officers and avoiding them), conviction of new criminal charges, failure to pay fines, and failure to complete required assessments or community service can all be cause for filing of violations.
Probation has been described as a "grace" in which the underlying active sentence is suspended and the defendant is given a second chance to stay out of jail. If a defendant is found guilty of violating his probation, he is likely to be facing jail or prison time. For probation violations occurring on or after December 1, 2011, a person's probation cannot be fully revoked unless 1) the person has served two periods of Confinement in Response to Violation (CRV) or 2) the violation was either absconding or conviction of a new criminal offense. CRVs are short periods of confinement, up to 90 days depending on the situation, which tolls against the suspended sentence and then releases the defendant to finish the remainder of his probation. A full revocation is an activation of the underlying sentence which was imposed by the judge during the proceedings for the underlying charge.
A presiding judge will almost always have the discretion to modify the underlying sentence or the probation conditions if he feels it is appropriate to do so, or to not impose consequences for a violation. Most judges will ask for the recommendation of the probation officer, if the defendant was on supervised probation, and will often adopt that recommendation.
Probation violation hearings are not as formal as criminal trials. There are notice requirements, however, where the defendant must be made aware of the violations alleged against him within a certain time frame. Additionally, probation officers must do their "due diligence" before declaring a probationer as having absconded.
Why Hire an Attorney?
An experienced attorney will speak with the probation officer in a supervised probation case to investigate the basis of the violation and spot any potential problems with the charge or even with the notice. It takes a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to know what consequences a judge may impose on any given charge and to present the necessary information to ensure the least severe consequences possible.
Have questions about NC probation violations? I am always happy to give free consultations and speak with you about your situation to assess your options.
Hensley Law Firm provides criminal defense representation in:
Mars Hill, Marshall, Hot Springs, and surrounding areas (Madison County)
Asheville, Weaverville, Leicester, Black Mountain, Swannanoa, and surrounding areas (Buncombe County)
Burnsville and surrounding areas (Yancey County)