When a person is found guilty of committing a crime, there are a few different routes a judge may go in sentencing the guilty party. One option for sentencing is probation. Probation can either occur after time in jail, or it can be a replacement for jail time. Being put on probation is often a relief because it allows one to continue living life outside of a jail cell. However, being on probation does require the guilty party to adhere to probation conditions. These conditions will vary depending on the crime that was committed and the sentencing of the judge. If you are on probation and you violate any of these conditions, you have committed probation violation. If you have committed probation violation, it is time to contact a defense attorney in Fort Collins at our firm. We can assist you finding the right legal defense for your situation. Never delay in reaching out for legal aid. Probation violation is not something that will magically go away on its own. It is a matter you need to deal with in a timely fashion with the help of a professional team.
So how exactly does a violation occur? Read on to learn the top most common ways probation is violated in Colorado.
Understanding Your Probation
If you have been placed on probation, it is important to understand exactly what your probation involves. Some common conditions of probation include the following:
- Required reporting to probation officer
- Community service hours
- Restrictions on drug and alcohol usage
- Paying fines
- Counseling or classes (i.e. anger management courses)
- Restrictions on weapon use
Your probation conditions will be determined by the judge, and it is important that you understand those conditions clearly.
Common Ways Probation Is Violated
1. Drug & Alcohol Use
Oftentimes part of probation requirements involve frequent drug and alcohol testing. If you are required to abstain from the use of alcohol and you decide to pick up a beer, you might be randomly tested that day. If you fail your drug or alcohol test, you will be in violation of your probation. If you, or a loved one, is currently on probation and there is any chance of random drug and alcohol tests, practice extra caution. Do not bank on what day you are going to be tested, and do not assume you can sweat drugs out of your system before a test. Some good tips to keep in mind if drug testing is part of your probation conditions are the following:
- Commit to staying clean: The process begins with you making a firm commitment to yourself that you will refrain from using drugs or alcohol while you are on probation. If you are not firm in your resolve up front, you will have much less of a chance of fighting the urge later.
- Make a plan for how you will stay clean: Be specific in your plan. Instead of just saying, “I’ll stay clean” create a gameplan. Your plan could include things like avoiding certain groups of people you know will tempt you.
- Join support groups: It is often much easier to handle a lifestyle change when you have a group of people supporting that change. There are a lot of good groups available in Fort Collins for people seeking to live a sober life.
- Avoid temptation: If you are on probation and you are required to abstain from drinking alcohol, do not tempt yourself by going out with friends who are all planning on drinking the night away. Find activities you can focus your energy on that do not include the use of alcohol.
2. Failing to Report
It can feel like a major hassle to constantly report to your probation officer. Maybe you lead a busy life and your spare moments are few and far between. A common slip up for people on probation is simply forgetting to report to their probation officer. You will be told exactly how often you need to be touching base with your probation office, and it is critical you follow those requirements to a T. If you struggle to remember appointments, now is a great time to work on this part of your life. Get yourself a big calendar and place it in an area you will be sure to view it every day. Right down the specific times and days you must report to your officer. Don’t stop there. Set up reminders on your phone to notify you before the designated times. Get someone else in on the plan as well. Tell your friend, mother, or spouse to remind you about reporting times. The more fail safes you set up for yourself, the higher odds you will not commit this probation violation.
3. Being in the Wrong Place
Sometimes part of your probation includes remaining in a certain location and not contacting or seeing certain people. For example, if you were charged with domestic violence, you may be required to not see or contact the other party involved. If you show up on that person’s doorstep, you may find yourself in violation of your probation. Conversely you also might be required to remain in the city you are currently residing in during the fulfillment of your probation. If you skip town, you will have violated probation. The simple rule of thumb here is to stay where you are required to be and to never contact or see someone you have been told not to. If you find yourself tempted to show up on someone’s doorstep, ask a friend to hold you accountable. Even if your heart is in the right place, you will find yourself on the wrong side of the law for violating probation.
4. Not Paying Your Fines
It can honestly be frustrating and financially stressful to pay all the fines you are required to pay when you are on probation. You likely will need to pay a monthly fee for probation supervision, along with whatever other fees you have been required to fulfill. Although paying these fines may be extremely overwhelming, you have to stay on top of this requirement. The moment you stop paying your fines, you will be in violation of your probation and action will be taken.
The best thing to do if you violated your probation is to contact a defense attorney in Fort Collins at our law firm. We will help you understand your options and try to find the best next step for your particular situation.